5 things to know about SISD's safety plan

Ashley Inge ainge@empiretribune.com
Stephenville High School is currently undergoing construction. A new school year is set to begin Aug. 21.

The recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso have frightened residents in communities across the country.

The E-T sat down with Stephenville ISD Superintendent Matt Underwood to talk about measures that faculty and staff are taking to keep students safe as a new school year approaches.

Here are five things to know:

1. Hiring Additional Counselors: An education counselor has been hired to help identify students who are at risk of harming themselves or others. A case profile will be created and the counselor will talk to the student and work out any issues they may be having. A Licensed Specialist in School Psychology intern will also be hired to help with special education students.

2. Google Software: Students are not allowed to use iMessage on their iPads so some have found an alternate way to chat with their peers: by using a Google document. Software was recently installed on the Google documents that monitor students’ conversations and flag them for inappropriate use.

“This software reads the messages and if anything looks like it’s going to harm themselves or harms others, then it flags it and it sends an email to me, the principal and the counselor of the campus,” Underwood said.

3. The Five-Year Plan: Underwood said that SISD’s security advisor, CRUX Technology and Security Solutions, is currently constructing a five-year safety plan that the board of trustees will vote on soon.

FUTURE POTENTIAL SAFETY MEASURES

4. In-House Security Expert: Underwood believes that an in-house security expert would be beneficial for SISD. The security expert would be certified, up to speed with the Texas School Safety Center, attend all of the meetings and would essentially be the “go-to person” for the district.

5. Weapon Detection: New software is being released that is used to detect weapons. The software will attach to the school camera and include face recognition of the student or person inside the school and can detect if that individual is carrying a weapon. The police and administration would then be notified. Underwood said the software is costly, but hopes that it will become cheaper with time.

“We looked at the amount of money within the last five years that we have spent on intervention, discipline, addressing at-risks behaviors, behavior teachers, assistant principals...We have spent a lot to deal with the safety and security issue on the front end and back end,” Underwood said. “But you can’t ever really do enough.”