The safety and security of the students and staff at Woodville ISD has always been a top priority in the district, however recent events throughout the state and nation have emphasized the need for schools to re-evaluate their security measures. There is heightened awareness and sense of urgency at all levels, from the Governor on down, to ensure that we are taking any and all actions necessary to prevent and mitigate potential tragedy and ensure the protection of our children.
One of the major goals in our district long-term strategic plan addresses these concerns: “Woodville ISD will provide safe and secure facilities and a positive learning environment for all students and staff.” Under this goal are listed several objectives and strategies that have been and will continue to be implemented, with changes and adjustments as needed to meet new state guidelines and directives. While not inclusive of everything we do, I have listed below some of the safety and security measures we have in place as well as new initiatives that we are implementing this school year:
•The district has an established an Emergency Operations Plan that identifies the roles and responsibilities of key personnel in addition to clear procedures for responding to a variety of potential emergency situations. This is reviewed and updated annually.
•Established a Safety and Security Committees at the district and campus levels that conduct regular safety and security audits of the district and are responsible for implementing the Emergency Operations Plan if needed.
•We have controlled entries and access points at the junior high and high school campuses using the RAPTOR Visitor Check-In System (criminal background scan.) Parents/Visitors can only enter through the front door and must submit a photo ID upon entering the building or when picking up a child from school early.
•In collaboration with the City of Woodville, we have hired a second School Resource Officer (SRO). We now have Officer Steven Hoke who serves as SRO at the Middle and High School and Officer Michael Williams who serves as SRO at the Elementary and Intermediate Campuses.
•We are offering free meals and free access to events at Woodville ISD for any law enforcement personnel in uniform – regardless of association (City Policy, Sheriff’s Office, State Trooper, Game Wardens, etc.) This will act as a deterrent to potential offenders due to increased law enforcement visibility on all campuses. It will also allow law enforcement to become familiar with our facilities and build positive relationships with students and staff.
•Woodville ISD conducts monthly emergency drills for all students and staff at both the campus and district level using Kologic Campus Safe – CopSync 911 and the Texas School Safety Center Standard Response Protocols.
•Kologic Campus Safe – CopSync 911, is a notification and communication system that immediately alerts all district employees and first responders of any emergency situation in the district. Because of this program and the drills we practice, we can lock-down our entire district in less than minute. In addition, emergency personnel are notified and are on campus within minutes as well.
•Conduct annual professional development/training for district personnel including but not limited to: Basic First Aid; CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillator); Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention; Bullying and Cyberbullying Prevention; Child Abuse and Human Trafficking; CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute); Active Shooter/Intruder; and Standard Response Protocols for Lockdowns, Lockouts, Evacuations, and Sheltering-in-Place.
•In October of 2021, we implemented Go Guardian, which is program that scans all student digital communications through the district network, to identify potentially harmful student situations and notify appropriate personnel to intervene as needed.
•Last school year we hired an additional district counselor to specifically address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students. She also serves as a parent liaison, helping students and families find resources and supports for any type of social, emotional, behavioral, or mental health need.
•Several years ago, we implemented an anonymous online reporting system through our District Web Site in addition to the physical boxes located outside the counselors’ offices at each campus. Any student, parent or community member is encouraged to report any concern related to our school or our students. If you see something or hear something, Say Something!
•We are in the process of establishing Community Based “Eagle Eyes” Safety Patrols at each campus. The goal is to encourage community volunteers to assist school personnel in proactively supporting school safety and security. This would include conducting “door sweeps” to ensure exterior doors/windows are locked; monitoring doors, grounds, parking lots, and traffic during arrival and dismissal times; and assisting with emergency drills. Members must be willing to go through an application and training process and commit to working within the guidelines and protocols of the district.
•This summer we finished a complete upgrade of the district’s technology infrastructure. This allows us to move on the phase 2 and 3 of our plan – to upgrade and improve security cameras and security lighting across the District and to upgrade and replace communication systems district-wide to include phones and intercoms.
In addition, the district has a well-established working relationship with city and county officials, police, and emergency responders. We will continue to coordinate and train with the appropriate City/County Health and Law Enforcement Agencies. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful community of support for our students and our schools.