A busy summer includes plenty of building maintenance and construction to prepare for our kiddos’ return for the next school year. Part of this construction includes the completion of the projects promised and delivered from the 2019 bond. Dodd Elementary is one of our final campuses receiving updates. Among the improvements include safety and security upgrades that are now installed at each campus, such as office visual access to the parking lot and penetration-resistant window film. Thanks to our taxpayers, both of these improvements have been accomplished at each campus with the completion of this project for our Dinos.
The completion of these projects is evidence of the commitment to our first priority – keeping our schools safe and secure. With acts of school violence like the tragedy that unfolded in Uvalde, you may have questions about how Wylie ISD works to ensure the safety and security of students and staff at our campuses and school events. Before the doors open for the first day of school on Aug. 11, we want to provide you with what we have developed and accomplished over the last several years to ensure safety and security remains our top priority.
As an educational organization, our expertise focuses on teaching and learning. For this reason, we rely on our partnerships with local law enforcement and the Texas School Safety Center for planning, advice and direction regarding the design and implementation of our plans for safety and security.
A few years ago, Wylie ISD employed our first director of safety and security to coordinate these efforts. Mr. Brian Kelly brings 30 years of law enforcement experience to our district. In his role as director of safety and security, Mr. Kelly oversees the day-to-day security operations, frequently evaluates safety measures and protocols, and works to ensure our schools are prepared for all emergencies.
He and other Wylie ISD staff meet regularly with our local police departments and emergency management agencies to review plans and ensure safety and security remain top of mind. We are grateful for the care shown by our law enforcement partners, which include the Wylie, Sachse, and Murphy police departments and the Collin County Sheriff’s Office. They are just as committed to your children’s safety as we are, and their ongoing partnership and support are greatly appreciated.
As part of our ongoing efforts to keep schools safe and secure, we will continue to follow the well-established protocols implemented in our district. While we can’t share all of our measures and safeguards, families can review an outline of our publicly-facing measures.
School Resource Officers
Ten police officers from the Wylie and Sachse police departments serve as the backbone of our district’s safety plan. These school resource officers are carefully selected, specially trained, and properly equipped full-time law enforcement professionals with sworn authority and trained in school-based law enforcement and crisis response.
Additional Law Enforcement Presence
Although Wylie ISD does not have a school resource officer assigned full-time to every campus, law enforcement responds to any campus incident, such as a medical emergency or a disturbance, within minutes.
Currently, Wylie ISD and the City of Wylie are working through logistics to provide further law enforcement at elementary campuses, including those outside Wylie city limits. While SROs regularly patrol these campuses, our elementary families can expect an additional presence from other WPD officers on campus this school year. Uniformed police officers can also eat meals for free at Wylie ISD schools and are welcome to utilize campus parking lots for work.
In addition to the 10 school resource officers, Wylie ISD employs eight security guards. These security guards patrol parking lots, check hallways while students are in class learning, inspect exterior doors and windows, and monitor video surveillance systems.
Wylie ISD has more than 1200 cameras located throughout the district. These cameras are regularly maintained and upgraded, and security staff monitors the cameras throughout the day. Our local police and fire departments also have access to all district cameras.
Digital Radio Network
Thanks to a recent grant, Wylie ISD has purchased more than 600 digital radios that are in service throughout the district. Unique to Wylie ISD, our digital radios have direct contact with police and fire dispatch and allow district administrators the ability to communicate directly with local law enforcement. This is cutting-edge technology.
Doorbell System and Front Office Vestibule
Every exterior door in Wylie ISD is locked and remains locked at all times. If you’ve ever visited a campus or building, you’ve probably noticed that to enter, visitors are required to press an intercom button and show proper identification to the video camera. This system provides controlled access to schools during the school day.
After entering the building, visitors only have access to the front office, which serves as a security vestibule. Visitors are screened through the visitor management system and once approved, they must be “buzzed” through another set of locked doors to enter the main campus.
Updated Front Offices
As we mentioned before, thanks to the voter-approved 2019 bond, campuses received front office updates to improve views of the parking lots. These front office upgrades add another layer of security to our campuses by allowing staff to know who is coming into the building.
Reporting and Monitoring
Wylie ISD takes all concerns very seriously and offers a way for students and families to anonymously report issues through Tip411. Campus and district administrators review tips daily and follow up on all submissions. Our district also utilizes GoGuardian to monitor student activity online while they are using district devices. Threat assessments are another way Wylie ISD monitors any suspicious behavior. These assessments identify and address concerning or threatening behaviors by students before they lead to violence.
Staff members are directed to remain vigilant and to immediately report suspicious or concerning activity. They also receive training for various crisis and emergency situations. In Wylie ISD, our district follows the Standard Response Protocol, which provides consistent, clear, shared language and actions among all students, staff, and first responders for all incidents.
Audits and Drills
Our district conducts audits of its safety procedures annually and submits reports to the state. Beginning this school year, exterior doors will be inspected on a weekly basis.
Campuses conduct safety drills routinely to ensure students and staff are prepared for possible emergency situations.
All volunteers must pass a criminal background check before volunteering on any Wylie ISD campus. Volunteers must complete these background checks annually.
Wylie ISD evaluates and updates our district’s security plan regularly. Part of this process includes looking at ways to enhance safety and security in our schools and at campus events. Heading into the 2022-23 school year, based on new national safety and security guidelines, Wylie ISD plans to implement the following additional safety measures.
- Teachers will teach behind locked doors.
- Secondary students (grades 7-12) are required to wear their student identification on a lanyard around their neck while on campus. The visible ID measure will help us quickly distinguish possible unauthorized visitors from students and staff.
- Students in grades 8 and below must be accompanied by an adult at home varsity football games. Effective the 2022 season, there will be no junior high student section. Please be on the lookout for more information from campus principals before the first home game of the season.
From how to submit information through Tip411 to learning more about Standard Response Protocol, families can find a list of helpful resources below:
- Video Entry Process
- Wylie ISD/Wylie Police Department’s School Safety Alert video: Safety is No Joke
Keeping our schools safe is a shared responsibility, and we are grateful for your cooperation and patience as we follow national standards and updates recommended by state and federal law enforcement agencies and organizations.
While fortifying entrances at all campuses is very important, they are but one of a number of measures to increase safety and security. In addition, Wylie ISD doubled the number of school resource officers over the past 10 years, updated radios for improved communication, and added security cameras to improve campus surveillance. We have taken these precautions, but most importantly, we need the support and cooperation of our students, faculty, staff, parents, and broader community. Together, we can set the national standard for school safety, the Wylie Way! And remember, if you hear or see something, please say something!