Frisco’s new efforts to keep schools safe with bullet-proof glass, mental health teams
Frisco school district is making efforts to keep school safe after a deadly shooting at a high school in Santa Fe last year. Lockdown technology, bullet-proof glass, and stepped up intervention to help students at risk of hurting themselves or others are part of their actions. Texas lawmakers made school safety a priority by pouring additional money to districts and require them to enhance security efforts.
Frisco promotes initiatives, including enhancing mental health awareness for students as well as making campuses more secure with enhanced features. Frisco’s stepped up initiatives include focusing on mental health awareness for students and making campuses even more secure with enhanced features. According to Dr. Stephanie Cook who is managing director of guidance and counseling services for Frisco schools. The key is focusing on their emotional wellbeing as it has a direct connection to school violence.
For instance, FISD is creating each campus’ threat-assessment teams who will identify students who has different behavior, including threatening to harm someone, or threat the school through their social media posts. These teams could also be called for help in case a student seems to be isolated, make homicidal or suicidal comments. Moreover, the new teams expanded a counseling department with an addition of 44 positions last year.
To enhance building security for the district, interior classrooms are installed bullet-resistant glass and campus lockdown technology is applied, which will allow electronically lock doors and notify authorities in case of an emergency. Voters approved a bond package in 2018 with $4.3 million for such campus safety features. The bond also spends $8.3 million on surveillance updates in order to help update models of about 2,400 existing security cameras.
Per Texas’ new school safety bill, districts are required to have an emergency plan. The emergency manager, Jon Bodie, is working across the district for training support on safety, especially training on what to do in case of active-shooter situations. Since deadly school shootings at Columbine High School in 1999 and Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, schools have increasingly enhanced security.
For over 10 years, Frisco has collaborated with local police, fire and other emergency officials on the Situational Awareness for Emergency Response, or S.A.F.E.R., program that allows FISD and authorities to conduct safety drills as well as gives them live feed access to cameras inside and outside of the schools. The unique program helps first responders and school administrators work together as they plan and practice responses to emergencies in real time, Bodie said.
Frisco has cooperated with local police, fire and other emergency officials on the Situational Awareness for Emergency Response, or S.A.F.E.R. program which allows FISD to conduct safety drills and gives them live feed access to all cameras of the schools for over 10 years.
Besides, they created a SOPit app 2 years ago as a channel for students and their parents to report concerns anonymously. With this app, users can upload pictures, video, audio or most recently-screenshots. There were about 19,800 downloaded times and the app is constantly monitored even on weekends and holidays.