The first priority of Wylie ISD is to ensure the safety of our students, staff and visitors while maintaining a warm and welcoming environment that is practical and ﬁnancially sustainable.
In Spring, 2018 we asked your opinion on school safety. 83% of you felt that Wylie ISD is a safe place for our kids. We won’t be satisfied until we reach 100% and will continue to explore new ways to improve safety and build trust. This survey also provided us with the safety initiatives you wanted us to prioritize.
We added the number one item, buzz-in systems, last year and have implemented more than half of the items on this list.
Thanks to a partnership with our awesome police departments, we currently have SROs at eight campuses. They provide a wide variety of services and do great things for our kiddos. Working together has helped us earn your trust. As much as they do for us, there are things related to safety and security by law an SRO cannot perform. It is also very difficult for municipalities to fill existing positions within their police departments, adding SROs to our existing force is not feasible. If we want to increase the number of people protecting our kids, we will need to consider other options.
FUTURE SECURITY STAFFING PROPOSAL
We began this process with a goal: Ensuring a safe and secure environment for all district students, staff, and visitors while maintaining a warm and welcoming environment that is practical and ﬁnancially sustainable. For the past year, we have researched ways to meet the request of adding additional armed security personnel without burdening our cities. We created several options that combined our SROs with district safety and security staff. We presented these options to trustees at a board workshop as a launch point for considerations.
SCHOOL GUARDIANS OPTION
Among the options available to Texas school districts is the guardian program. Created in 2007 under federal and state laws, the guardian program allows specific district employees to be authorized by the Board to carry firearms. The State sets requirements for mental and psychological testing as well as weapon and physical standards, but the day-to-day requirements and duties of a guardian are determined locally. On campus, a guardian has the primary duty to serve as the safety officer, with the additional authority to use lethal force when necessary.
MORE RESEARCH/MORE INPUT
We believe the school belongs to the people. Even though we have concluded more than a year of researching options, this is only the beginning of our process to increase the security in Wylie ISD. So far, we have asked input from teachers and administrators. We have already changed our original recommendations based on their feedback. NOTHING is set in stone. We plan to seek guidance from parents, the community and students. This will also be presented to our district safety and security committee that includes parents and professionals in safety and security.
Trustees and administrators plan to visit schools that offer programs we are interested in pursuing. We will continue to collaborate with our police departments. We have already provided our mayors and police chiefs the information given to trustees.
YOUR VOICE MATTERS
We want and value input. If you are aware of a promising, research-based practice for consideration, we welcome your input too. After all, this is your school. Please click on the link below and let us know what you think.
If there are areas where we need to spend more time listening to ideas relate to safety and security we are happy to pause, listen and learn. Wylie ISD will not move forward until voices are heard and we have a common plan that provides the best option to protect our students. We will continue to focus on teaching and learning to help everyone gain a common understanding. Only then will we ask trustees to consider a final option. There is nothing more important than kids being safe and families trusting us with their most prized possession.
We will provide more information in future blogs about the following topics
The role of an SRO and Guardian. Their similarities, differences, limitations, and benefits.
The cost of safety and security. What it takes for a school and city to fund security personnel.
Updated plans and timelines as we continue this important process
Children, money, and school safety and security all put together make for some passionate debate and thoughtful discussion. I love your kids and consider them my own when they are in our care. Please choose your words carefully when you talk to your kids about school safety.