Alamo Heights ISD school resource officer adds new layer of security for students

By Sarah Acosta - Reporter

ALAMO HEIGHTS, Texas - Thirty-five people died last year in school shootings across the country, according to nonprofit Education Week. It's an epidemic that schools around the nation and locally must face.

Alamo Heights Independent School District isn't taking the issue lightly, which is why, at the end of 2018, the district beefed up its security by adding a school resource officer on campus.

District officials describe the high school as a safe place, saying there has never been a threatening incident involving a weapon on campus.

“You can never be too safe in regards to school safety,” said Brian McManis, a new student resource officer for the district.

McManis started in January after the district formed a partnership with the Alamo Heights Police Department to provide a full-time officer on campus year-round.

The district had been working toward placing an officer full-time on campus, but the final push came after meetings regarding school safety last year in response to the school shootings across the country.

“It's making a difference, providing that safety net for these students,” McManis said. “That safety barrier (is) making a presence known while you are on campus to prevent any outside intruders best you can.”

Securing the campus is something McManis takes seriously, from monitoring security cameras to making sure all doors are locked as part of his daily routine.

McManis showed KSAT a door that had been propped open by a rug. He said finding slightly ajar doors and locking them can be crucial.

McManis said he feels a bit like the new student since he's still learning faces and names, but he's had more than five years of experience. He was a student resource officer with Northside ISD prior to his new position.

He's making it his No. 1 priority to build positive relationships with AHISD students.

I want them to "see me every day, every passing period, during lunch, so that they know, 'If I have an issue, Officer McManis is there, and I can go and confide in him,'” McManis said.

McManis said he is there for students who see any alarming posts on social media or hear a threat made or if someone is being bullied.

“My door is always open for any issues like that,” McManis said. “If it's to help them get counseling, help them get to an administrator, get them to their counselor. That's what I'm here for.”

KSAT found that 17 surrounding school districts also have student resource officers or some type of police presence currently on its campuses, which include the following: 

Boerne ISD

Comal ISD

East Central ISD

Edgewood ISD

Harlandale ISD

Judson ISD

Medina Valley ISD

New Braunfels ISD

Northeast ISD

Northside ISD

San Antonio ISD

Somerset ISD

South San ISD

Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City (SCUCISD)

Southside ISD

Southwest side ISD

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