Some parents, students on board with NEISD's new security policies
Changes, including clear backpacks, go into effect next school year
SAN ANTONIO – Just as the school year is winding down, the North East Independent School District is announcing security changes for the upcoming academic year.
Among the changes that may impact students most directly is a policy calling for all high school and middle school students to carry only clear backpacks.
"It doesn't matter to me as long as nothing happens," said Josh Leija, a MacArthur High School student. "There are a lot of school shootings right now, so I think we're good."
Band and athletic bags will still be permitted and students will also be able to carry lunch bags and purses.
Elementary school students will be exempt from the clear backpack rule, but NEISD plans to hire more police officers for elementary school campuses.
Another big security change is that all doors at all school campuses will remain locked during the school day.
"We're going to have a buzz-in system," NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor said. "So, if you come and you've left a lunch at home or something and you need to see your child, you're going to have to wait there and be buzzed in."
Chancellor said the changes are aimed at protecting students and were prompted by recent school shootings and other trouble on campuses across the country.
"We know it's going to be very different for parents. It's a different culture. It's a different thing," she said.
C.C. Guerrero is one parent who is embracing the changes with open arms.
"I wouldn't call it an inconvenience," Guerrero said. "I don't mind at all. More security is better than less."
Sandra Roberts agrees, even though her son, a MacArthur High School senior, will be headed to college next year.
"With the way things are going right nowadays and the way kids are walking in with who knows what, they can hide things anywhere," she said.
Not all of the changes being made will be as visible.
The plan calls for school administrators to undergo training for active shooter situations this summer and counselors will receive more mental health training to better help students.
With the changes, NEISD will have some of the strictest safety rules in the region. But the hope is that its schools will also be among the safest.
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