San Marcos CISD begins the new 2008-09 school year with the safety of students and staff a continued priority. Superintendent Dr. Patty Shafer has met with District administrators and with representatives of the San Marcos Police Department to discuss security at all campuses in order to maintain a productive learning environment. Sergeant Bob Klett of the SMPD oversees the Community Services Division and all the campus Security Resource Officers (SROs). Klett said, “The officers in my division are working to ramp up on providing more security awareness on all the campuses in the District. The SROs attended excellent training sessions during the summer and are bringing back suggestions to each of their assigned campuses.”
Klett reminded administrators that the issues of school security are the responsibility of all the staff, not just SROs. Persons in transportation, custodians, food service workers, maintenance workers, and teachers should all be diligent and watchful of the surroundings and of the words and actions of persons, including students, in their areas. “The safety of the kids and staff is just simply too important,” Klett says.
In addition to scheduling time to talk at each campus with teachers and support staff, officers of the SMPD will be making “spot checks” at each campus at least once a week for security related issues. They will be unannounced visits, and the campus principals will be given reports following the random inspections. Klett will periodically report to the District’s management team in order to share strong points and any shortcomings noted. From time to time, the SMPF will run “unannounced intruder drills” at chosen campuses to check the lock down procedures. “Any intruder drill that we run will always have a uniformed member of my division somewhere in the vicinity,” Klett said.
Also, Crockett Elementary School is piloting a new sign-in security system called “Raptor.” Visitors to Crockett now have their driver’s licenses or State issued ID cards scanned before entering the building. The system matches the information against the sex offender databases of 49 states (Hawaii not included), and then prints a photo identification badge. The whole process takes about 30 seconds, according to Crockett principal Rick LaBuhn.
“When visitors are ready to leave,” says LaBuhn, “they must exit through the front office and return the printed badge. The office staff then returns the driver’s license or State ID. If the system notes a registered sex offender, there is an automatic alert to the campus administrator and the San Marcos Police Department.”
If a visitor is identified as a sex offender, they would still be able to access their child, but would have limited, supervised access to other students on campus.
Parents who do not have a State issued identification card will be allowed to visit with their child in the front office area, or a staff member will accompany them on their visit with their child to the classroom or cafeteria.
Superintendent Shafer adds, “This is just a precautionary measure. San Marcos CISD shares the same concerns as all the school districts across our Central Texas area and even the nation. The tried-and-true best security technique is being observant and building trust with the student population so that they feel the responsibility of reporting anything suspicious to adults in charge. Our number one goal is the safety of our students and staff.”
By IRIS CAMPBELL
Public Information Officer – San Marcos CISD