On Tuesday, August 2, at the Plano Independent School District’s Board of Trustees meeting, Selena Anderson, deputy superintendent over leadership and operations, brought up some critical points for discussion in preparation for the first day of classes. One of the main topics centered around safety and security.
Meanwhile, in Richardson, interim superintendent Tabitha Branum reminded worried parents in a video presentation of the extensive safety measures in place in the district.
Both school districts are focused on giving reassurance to anxious parents and the community before classes begin.
In a statement by Plano ISD’s superintendent Dr. Theresa Williams addressing the district’s back-to-school plan, Dr. Williams announced a new leadership role: director of emergency management in safe schools. The position’s primary responsibility is to monitor campus safety plans and provide professional learning on the best practices for keeping students and staff safe. During the summer break, PISD’s Safety and Security department provided all campus administrators and teachers with training. The department also conducted audits of campuses and processes all summer.
The back-to-school plan will implement safety measures like keeping classroom doors locked at all times, using standard response protocol, strengthening the partnership with local police departments as well as specific protocols for visitors and volunteers.
Branum, on the other hand, emphasized the improvement the physical security that Richardson Independent School District schools received over the years thanks to the support of the community through bond programs. These permitted the equipment of schools with safety features as well as the development of strategies that provide protection and deterrence for any safety event occurrence.
Each RISD school has security and emergency plans and will be regularly audited to make sure those safety practices remain up to date and reflect the best practices for each school’s security. Each school has a double buzz entry system with remote camera monitors for visitor background checks. Moreover, RISD has over 4000 surveillance cameras that, in case of a safety event, are available to responders to allow them to quickly take action.
Branum also pointed to the district’s full-time safety and security staff, who work closely with police departments to evaluate and deter possible threats and take action to protect students and staff.
Both superintendents encourage parents to become familiar with the safety protocols for each district and learn the difference between each one.