This past week we witnessed another senseless shooting in the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Like each of you, I watched in disbelief with concern for the students, staff and families as the events of that day unfolded.
I want to take this opportunity to remind the BISD community that safety is my number one priority. If our students and staff do not feel safe, there will be little to no learning in our schools.
In the 2014 Bond, voters approved the addition of:
- Security fencing around all of our elementary campuses;
- Card readers on external doors which limit access to the buildings, and allow the District to keep campuses locked during the school day; and
- Additional security cameras on every campus allowing the District and, if needed, law enforcement, the ability to see what is happening in every building.
In addition to these measures, BISD has an Emergency Management Team (EMT) that meets several times each year and conducts safety exercises. The EMT also completed an extensive three-day Incident Command Training during summer 2017.
Four times each year, Birdville ISD conducts a lockdown drill on each campus. (Safety drills began in the District 15 years ago.) Before the tragic shooting in Florida, BISD had a lockdown drill scheduled for the week of February 19. As we look for ways to continually improve our response in various emergency scenarios, the District does not typically announce these drills in advance. However, in light of last week’s events, we are announcing a lockdown drill on all BISD campuses on Thursday, Feb. 22 or Friday, Feb. 23. This will only be a drill.
In addition to added safety equipment, specialized training and safety drills, the District has other measures in place as part of our overall safety plan. However, it is not in the best interest of student and staff safety to share all safety measures with the public.
As parents, I want to assure you that BISD is taking measures to prevent a Parkland, Florida scenario on one of our campuses. However, no plan is foolproof. Therefore, I am asking for your help. Students, staff, parents and community members are asked to be observant in your surroundings. Look and listen, and if there are questions or concerns, notify the campus principal, local authorities or report them on BISD’s Tip Line. BISD provides a “Tip Line” on our mobile app and on all District and campus websites.
Thank you for joining me in keeping our children and schools safe.
Darrell G. Brown, Ph.D.