Believe it or not, 2019 has already seen 40 mass shootings around the nation – and this is on the heels of one of the most tragic years for this topic on school campuses.
Security experts in Central Texas are trying to make sure it doesn’t happen to any local campuses – but if it does, they are making changes now in order to be ready.
“I don’t think it’ll ever be the same as [it] used to be. Everybody is of a heightened awareness because of the things going on,” says Clayton Williams, McLennan Community College Police Chief.
The learning landscape has shifted – with priorities focused on student security.
“We’re in a different time and place from when I went to school and when you went to school – that who would ever think that we’d have to have such lockdown-type of material or instruments to keep our kids safe,” says Israel Carrera, Waco Independent School District Assistant Superintendent.
After a year which saw Santa Fe and Stoneman Douglas shootings highlight national headlines, Central Texas administrators are assuring your kids are protected.
“I stress to the officers, ‘Make sure we’re getting out there meeting and greeting the students as they come in.’ Letting them know that feeling that, ‘Hey, we are a safe campus,'” Chief Williams says.
School districts in the Bell and McLennan Counties are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on campus upgrades – starting with the point of entry.
“We’ve replaced over 400 door locks on the classrooms, making those door locks where the students and faculty can lock themselves into it if something should occur,” Chief Williams explains.
FOX44 combed through crime calls throughout half of 2018. At McLennan Community College, the second most reported crime is suspicious activity.
The Killeen Independent School District saw the majority of their calls classified as “other” – with assaults trailing closely behind.
The Waco Independent School District dealt with disruptive students more than most.
Each of these districts are avoiding some of parents’ major concerns.
“To have the mindset that we’re prepared for any incident that may happen instead of being reactive, we’re being proactive and trying to do those drills that we need to do,” Carrera says.
These include new door lock systems, lanyard ID cards for students, expanded patrols and universal additions coming in 2019. We can also expect more staff situational training and safeguards to be put in place.
“We’re all involved. It’s no longer just the school’s responsibility, but it’s the community. The nurses. Everybody that’s at the campuses. We’re all responsible now,” Carrera explains.
This is a mindset movement after a year that saw nearly 100 K-12 campus shootings. This is 38 more than any other dating back to 1970.
“A bad guy may think I’m going to do something today, and then he sees that patrol car or that officer presence and that may change his mind,” Chief Williams says.
For more statistics and references on school shootings, you can click on the links below: