School security is once again on the minds of school officials. At the most recent meeting of the Denison Independent School District’s school board Superintendent Henry Scott talked about the need to do more with campus security.
Scott specifically mentioned identifying individuals who have the potential to harm others and what the school district can do preventatively.
“Each campus has an active threat-assessment team that evaluates students that may act out and do harm to others. If that is the case we need to get help for them,” Scott said. “Some of it can be psychological help, behavioral help, things of that nature.”
Scott said the district’s resources officers have been receiving training on that topic with the U.S. Secret Service. He said the emphasis is on identifying potential threats, and the district recently added retired Denison PD officer Lt. Paul Neumann to its ranks as another on-site officer. The district now has trained staff available to respond to emergencies at any campus during the school day. He talked about the need to do more than barricade students in the buildings.
“You are fooling yourself if you put all of your security in the building,” Scott said. “If you don’t deal with people that can do damage to others — because think of how much our kids are outdoors….Our athletes or band members are working outside. Everyday when school is out we open the doors and all these kids come out. So we don’t consider the total picture. If all we do is barricade ourselves in buildings, we’re not keeping our kids safe.”
Scott talked about the hiring of additional resources officers as a tool the district has implemented when it comes to safety. He also mentioned the Grant Halliburton Foundation’s program that will begin this fall offering students bullying and suicide prevention programs. He emphasized the need to use those programs to find problem students and get them help.
“We’ve got to do everything, working with the police department identifying potential people who can do harm to others, especially students that might act out against others,” Scott said. “We have kids that have to be dealt with one way or the other. Sometimes they have to be removed from school, which is a drastic thing but it has to happen.”
Scott said the district will never have 100 percent safety, due to the nature of the changing security threats. He said while the district has a program in place that is working it could always be better.
What additional safety measures do you think area schools could take? Let Denison area reporter Richard A. Todd know at RTodd@HeraldDemocrat.com or reach him on Facebook and Twitter @RichardAToddHD.