Canyon ISD Safety Task Force releases some recommendations

Canyon Independent School District has formed a Safety Task Force. While it's still in the process of doing campus by campus meetings, Monday night the school board was updated on what they'd like to see done to keep students and faculty safe.

School board members heard about several issues during their regular meeting. First on the agenda was STAAR results. Graphics were shown to demonstrate overall scores of students meeting or exceeding the passing standards. However, in some subjects, there's still work to be done. The next big item on the agenda, school safety. For the last few weeks, members of the task force have been going campus by campus, looking at ways to improve security. As of Monday, February 11th they visited 12 of the 15 campuses in the district.

"We want to look at access to our campuses. The way most school campuses are built today there are multiple points of entry. We've looked at all those points of entries and we made sure we were secure," said Director of Administrative Services, Caleb McClure.

He also says making sure their visitor check-in process is detailed, by continuing to scan drivers licenses. Adding the task force wants to keep track of emergency operation plans, establishing campus emergency teams, and looking at adding extra security cameras and monitors. Members also want to see more emergency drills being conducted, involving law enforcement from Amarillo Police Department, Canyon Police Department, Randall County Sheriff's Office, and the Department of Public Safety.

"We've talked about table talk exercises where we sit down and create a scenario and being to think through what we would do in those types of scenarios with all the emergency responders present," said McClure.

He adds, that includes improving communication in the district, to parents and the media. Also not just making these safety suggestions, but a continuous, non-stop effort.

"We like may be one of the greatest responsibilities is keeping our kids safe and we think that its something that you really have to be working on and improving on all the time".

But currently, Superintending Mike Wartes wants parents and community to find comfort in knowing law enforcement officials have been on campuses since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

"There will be an enhanced law enforcement presence at our campuses and so we just want our parents to feel comfortable with that and no other reason why they're there, and they're there for safety," said CISD Superintendent Mike Wartes.

After the task force completes their assessments, they'll present those to the superintendent. Then to the school board they say in March or April.