WACO, Texas – The Midway Independent School District has expanded its School Safety and Security Committee as a result of Senate Bill 11, and are looking to make their schools even safer.
The Senate Bill forced schools in Texas to be more proactive in their safety measures and to include more representatives in their safety committees. In the last year, Midway ISD has added representatives from the Waco PD, the FBI, McLennan Emergency Management, the superintendent and a parent and teacher to the committee.
“The makeup of our committee changed, but we feel like it all changed for the better,” says Midway ISD Maintenance and Transportation Director Buddy Freeman. “We want to be the exemplary example for the state and for other schools that want to say, ‘Hey, how do we want to do our safety and security committee? Hey, let’s look at what Midway is doing and let’s copy that.'”
Schools across the country are mending their safety protocols to include uniform procedures and terminology at the state and national level. With at least 96 reported incidents of gunfire on American campuses in 2019 alone, Midway leaders are changing how they approach these potential tragedies.
“One of the unfortunate things that has come about is instead of only preparing and drilling and training for an incident that can happen is that we are actually training on how to recover from an incident where we’re working on reunification and we’re working on first response for medical situations,” says Midway ISD Public Information Officer Traci Marlin.
New proposals for the school district include adding multiple tourniquets to each classroom in order to give medical attention right away in case of an emergency. They could also change their security alert systems when there is suspicious activity on campuses.
While they believe their schools are already safe, Midway believes there is more work to be done.
“We are hearing that students don’t necessarily feel safe at school,” says Marlin. “There’s something that is ‘actual safety’ of if they are safe and then there is something called ‘felt safety’, and it’s just that emotional response. And if they feel like it’s a safe place, and that is something that is very discouraging and something that we want to keep working towards, how to work on that ‘felt safety’ concept.”
Midway leaders say they will also prepare for the mental effects on students in case of an attack rather than just the physical effects.