San Antonio area school districts: Security is our priority

Districts outline school security procedures in place

Published On: Dec 14 2012 03:49:10 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 14 2012 07:21:54 PM CST
Sandy Hook Connecticut school shooting 22

News of the deadly school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut is prompting some San Antonio area school districts to review their own security measures at campuses across the city.

KSAT 12 News reached out to several districts within Bexar County, to gauge security procedures and policies currently in place.

"We certainly are praying for the families in Connecticut," said Pascual Gonzalez, spokesman for the Northside Independent School District. "It's heartbreaking to hear this news. Our priority is to keep children safe. These horrible events cause us to pause and look at our own situation and how we can make our schools more secure," Gonzalez said.

In a later statement, emailed to KSAT 12 News, the district writes, "While there is no indication that this is anything but an isolated incident in a state far from Texas, Northside ISD is very sensitive to concerns and questions from parents about our own crisis procedures."

NISD schools practice lockdowns and have crisis plans in place. The School Messenger system alerts parents to alerts sent from individual schools. The district has a 24-hour tip line, which people can use to report any information about a real or perceived threat to students' safety. That number is 210-397-SAFE. Northside ISD Police follow up on all leads.

Leslie Price, spokeswoman with the San Antonio Independent School District also outlined that district's crisis management plan.

She told KSAT 12 News the district regularly conducts training for schools and staff and review policies and procedures to determine if changes need to be made to strengthen them. "We also began further increasing security at our campuses last year, when we began installing key-card systems that require all visitors to be buzzed into the building during the school day," Price said. The district released a statement by Interim Superintendent Sylvester Perez in response to the shooting in Connecticut.

At North East Independent School District, Superintendent Brian Gottardy released a statement to the community echoing the sadness and shock in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. In his statement, he writes, "this is a stark reminder of the importance of our safety procedures and our check-in and screening processes for all visitors to campuses."

In response to KSAT 12's inquiry, Judson ISD Spokesman Steve Linscomb wrote this response, "Judson ISD reviews its crisis procedures every year and makes changes as technology or vulterabilities change and arise."

He further outlined the general procedures at JISD's schools:

Other school districts such as Alamo Heights ISD implemented a reverse call to parents. Superintendent Kevin Brown outlined new security improvements and reassured parents that efforts have been made to make sure staff and teachers are prepared to act, in the event of an emergency, to make sure children are safe during a crisis.