Taylor school officials shared a glimpse into the way the district approaches campus security during a one-hour presentation before school trustees and members of the city council Tuesday morning.
“Our administrators really understand what they need to do,” said Curtis Clay, the district’s security consultant. “This is the first district I’ve worked with to actively do safety drills. Some think it’s too much trouble. They just go through the motions but … you guys are ahead of the game.”
Clay, along with Deputy Superintendent Rodney Fauscett, presented a thorough overview of the district’s security plan, including the ways local law enforcement and emergency services are integrated.
Clay noted that there are 300 security cameras scattered across the campuses in the district, and Taylor police have the ability to monitor those cameras at need. School buses are also equipped with cameras.
“If a call goes out, we can look at that campus and look at a specific location and monitor the situation,” said Taylor Police Chief Henry Fluck. “Our officers don’t have to go in blind. We can tell responding officers exactly what’s happening and where.”
Fauscett said all campuses are equipped with metal detectors. Some are hand-held, he said, but everyone walks through a metal detector at the secondary campuses.
The district employs a specific app that lets teachers and administrators communicate directly via text in case of emergency, even with law enforcement.
“In case of an intruder, for instance, a teacher can push a button and the PD knows right away,” said Fauscett. “We can put the campus into lock down right away.”
Taylor police and fire personnel have access to detailed site plans. Buildings and entrances are well-marked.
There are district and campus-level emergency response teams in place and the district undergoes regular security and safety audits.
“We completed one just last week,” said Clay.
All buildings are secured so that no one can enter except through secured vestibules.
A registered nurse or licensed vocational nurse is stationed on each campus and about one-fifth of all school employees are trained in CPR and First Aid.
There are also school resource officers stationed at the high school and the middle school. The district offers any breakfast or lunch to uniformed police and fire personnel and to anyone in the military. Fluck said local fire and police routinely take advantage of that.
He noted that, as schools become more hardened, more vulnerable areas of the school could come under threat.
“Officers can ride with a school bus,” he said. “We know the next possible place someone might do something evil is to attack a school bus.”
He noted that the terroristic threat made in late August, which resulted in three Taylor seniors being arrested, proposed using explosives on a bus.
Having officers randomly ride the bus will present a deterrent to that, but also help where drivers don’t obey bus safety laws.
The full presentation is posted the Taylor Press website.
The district will host a community School Safety and Security forum 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30 at the Main Street Events Center.