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District plans for safe school year

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081122 district plans safe school yearVolunteers help package school supplies that will be given to all students prior to the new school year. Courtesy photo

By Tony Farkas
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SHEPHERD — Safety is an important matter, but it’s a challenge that Shepherd schools will meet in the coming year.
During an online presentation last week, Superintendent Jason Hewitt said that while the school was progressing in its safety measure, it, like many other schools, became complacent in its enforcement the events in Uvalde, however, brought every district’s attention to safety.

Hewitt said the district observes five layers of school safety — emergency management, staff training, exercises, hardware/software and positive school culture. During the presentation, Hewitt outlined how the district observes each layer.

For all visitors to the different campuses, entrants must be let into the building, then present ID and be placed into a database. All classrooms will remain locked, all campus and facility gates will be locked, and SISD has partnered with DPS for providing a more visible presence, Hewitt said.

Each campus also is under a security audit, and after the events of Uvalde, the state required a door audit, which was done by the Shepherd School Police Department and the SISD maintenance staff.

Hewitt said the district also is adding cameras to entrances, security lighting at all schools, rebuilding the threat assessment team and recreating the emergency operations plan with updated policies or procedures.

All teachers and substitutes will be trained in child maltreatment responsibilities, bullying prevention, suicide awareness, food allergy management, trauma-informed care and cybersecurity. The police force has received additional training as weall, Hewitt said.

The superintendent touched on other areas of improvement, which include a new parking lot at the primary school; refinishing of gymnasium floors; high school bleachers repaired and motorized; and new intercom systems and the middle and high schools.

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