Area schools react to Newtown killings

After hearing about the tragedy of the killing of innocent children and adults in a school in Newtown, Connecticut last week, area schools took to the task of ensuring their students were safe.

Unfortunately, a premature and inaccurate report was shared on San Antonio news stations showing that Pleasanton ISD had not completed their Safety Audit.

Dr. Cynthia Clinesmith was quick to point out that an audit had been completed after her arrival in January a month past the deadline in December.

She also noted that they responded to the audit by building a fence at the Elementary, increased security cameras, training administration, and reviewing Emergency Operation Procedures. She said that the leadership team has fully reviewed and completed all ‘annexes’ (chapters) of the Emergency Operations Procedures; resources have been ordered for the district (communication devices, etc.).

Schools run monthly drills for ‘evacuation’ and/or ‘stay in place’ practice.

The first week of January has two ‘table top’ exercises scheduled to ‘practice’ at the district level responses for intruder and/or natural disaster needs. January will begin review of Campus Operations Procedures (resources have already been ordered to strengthen “GO” kid processes).

Community “Partners” meeting scheduled for January 10th to discuss facility and technology needs (including identified Security needs such as keyless entry for staff at key locations, i.e. playground exits, etc.).

Pleasanton Chief of Police Ronald Sanchez shared that he had several officers who volunteered to monitor the Pleasanton Primary and Elementary Schools the past few days to help ease anxious parents, students and teachers.

In Jourdanton, Chief Eric Kaiser shared this with Jourdanton ISD parents:

“Today I was invited to sit down with the Jourdanton ISD Superintendent and Administrators from the Elementary, Jr. High and High Schools to discuss ways to improve our emergency response plan, as well as methods to make our schools a more secure place for our children to learn. “We take this responsibility very seriously,” said Kaiser. “Our schools are where we entrust our children.” He noted that students spend a good portion of their day and their childhood at school.

“In the coming weeks and months JPD officers will work with teachers and JISD staff to refine plans that are already in place, as well as train with them to respond in a speedy and efficient manner should a crisis arise at one of our campuses.

“This department has been very proactive in hosting training for both officers and teachers that deal with the phenomenon of juvenile killers and we have contacted experts in the field of juvenile violence to schedule recurrent training which includes how to identify violent individuals in a school setting. In addition, we have already scheduled exercises that will occur IN our schools, in which officers and teachers will work side by side to defuse potentially dangerous situations.

“On top of all of the measures that both the police department and Jourdanton ISD have taken to keep our kids safe, we need your help. If you hear information about actions that may place anyone is fear for their safety, please notify us. One of our best defenses against those who would do us harm, are the eyes and ears of the public. You can reach a Jourdanton Police Officer 24/7 by calling 830-769-3434 and pressing option #1.”

Dr. Lana Collavo, Jourdanton ISD superintendent, echoed Chief Kaiser’s plans. She said they have reviewed the lock-down procedures and will look at their Emergency Operating Procedures to see if revisions are needed.

At Poteet ISD, Superintendent Andy Castillo reiterated they, too, reviewed their lockdown procedures, ensured their side doors were secure and also implemented additional police presence at each campus this week.

“We want peace of mind for everyone. We will update and review our Emergency Operating Plan as needed,” Castillo continued.

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