In recent years certain nationwide events have occurred that have lead to the concern for school safety. Across the nation the need for secure learning environments is a necessity for students of all ages to view school as a place for achievement.
Susan Johnson, Corsicana Independent School Districts Executive Director of Communications understands this need for safety, not only to ease the minds of the parents within our community but the students and staff as well.
“This responsibility for safety doesn’t belong to just one person,” Johnson said. “It isn’t the principal or the police officers but everyone who needs to take part in working towards an environment where others feel comfortable reporting and letting it be known when they have a concern or issue.”
CISD did just that by having a districtwide meeting at Corsicana High School for all 850 staff members to attend and learn the new safety procedures. Navarro County Emergency Management Coordinator Eric Meyers and Sheriff Elmer Tanner were part of the training along with several other speakers.
Dr. Bob Kingman also instructed CISD campus nurses (all RNs) on how to apply a tourniquet to stop a major bleed.
“We are very fortunate to have community experts such as Dr. Kingman and our local law enforcement officials who have given their time and knowledge to equip our staff with safety strategies to use to protect our students and staff,” Johnson said.
The teachers were trained on a response protocol code that is universal across the district and consists of five conditions:
Lockout is a term used when there is a threat outside of campus. Lockdown is the next step up meaning all students and staff remain inside the classrooms as there is an intruder in the building. Evacuate is for emergencies such as a fire that all staff and students must leave the building to avoid. Shelter in place is for a time of a natural disaster such as a tornado or storm. The final procedure is a hold in where students remain in the classroom, leaving the hallways clear for a serious injury or a need for a single individual to receive immediate medical assistance.
All campuses will now have some form of restricted access in place for the 2018-2019 school year. CHS, Bowie Elementary and Fannin Elementary have had secure entry vestibules installed this summer along with a number of other improvements.
“We used money from the 2014 bond project to make sure our students have the safety measures needed in a school environment,” Johnson said. “The board of trustees and superintendent make safety a priority when considering these projects.”
Bowie has a new secure entryway, new floors, restroom updates, new paint, and an expanded cafeteria among many other updates.
Fannin also has a new secure entryway, new floors, new paint, new fencing and other updates.
CHS has the most dramatic out of the three makeovers. A new raptor system secure entry vestibule and an enclosed breezeway and a drug dog are some of the top improvements to the campus and its safety.
The Raptor Visitor Management System is a secure entry that allows for an I.D. to be shown and run through a security check before a main door is opened, allowing for the visitor to come in and receive a pass. All campuses now require an I.D. before anyone will be allowed access to the inside of the schools.
“The most important factor is safety and security so that the students can have a safe learning environment,” said Scott Stephens, CISD chief of police.
The district has also added to its police force with a total of 10 officers.
CHS principal, Shade Boulware, has also implemented his new Take Care of Corsicana policy throughout the high school and the district as a whole. The concept is to have a culture that the students and staff take pride in being a part of. The main focuses include behavior, academics, social/emotional needs and safety.
“We want to encourage everyone to come together and be a force against negativity,” said Boulware. “The idea that we respect each other and want to make a positive impact on one another is something that we want to bring into Corsicana and into this community. This is our vision statement.”
Since implementing TCC, CHS has seen improvements in behavior and academics, showing higher scores in all testing areas.
One major form of this is the See Something, Say Something movement, with an option available on the CISD website. Anyone including students, staff, parents and community members can simply go to the website and click on the red quick tips button which allows for all concerns to be submitted either confidentially or by leaving a name and number for a follow-up on a concern.
Reports can stem from a number of things including safety concerns, bullying, rumors of an incident and anything else that causes a sense of unease.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable with reporting anything that makes them uncomfortable either online or to a CISD staff member,” Johnson said.
CISD has plans to continue with its expansion and safety measure procedures.