DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When school starts next month, police officers in the largest school district in North Texas will have a new tool to keep each other, students, and teachers safe. For the first time ever, Dallas ISD police officers can now communicate directly with Dallas police officers over their portable and car radios. view article arw

The Secret Service – known for protecting the president – is now using their expertise to protect schools in the wake of a spate of deadly mass shootings. The new guidelines on enhancing school safety are based on research from the U.S. Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center. Lina Alathari, the author of the operational guide, told ABC News that although guns were used the majority of the time in the crimes studied, the report also includes attacks carried out using a "lethal weapon," such as a knife, gun or explosives. After the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, the Secret Service approached the Department of Education and offered to use the same methods they use to study assassins to study school shooters. view article arw

Following a deadly mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, Gov. Greg Abbott rolled out a 40-page plan to keep schools safe. Proposals ranged from beefing up existing mental health screening programs to encouraging voluntary use of gun locks at home, but one component seemed to divide lawmakers, districts and Texas schools: arming school employees. If Texas schools want to arm their staffs, they have two options. One is the Marshal Program, which Abbott proposed using state funds to help schools implement. It allows local school boards to authorize employees to carry a handgun on campus, but they must be specially trained and licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. Under the program, armed school personnel can't carry firearms around students. view article arw

Read and consider this article in the school safety debate. - js - SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — In the crucial first minutes after a gunman began shooting students and staff at a Florida high school, law enforcement's response was hampered by quirks in the local 911 system that caused many calls from inside the school to be transferred, the chairman of a commission investigating the massacre said. view article arw

The U.S. Secret Service offered help Thursday to school districts struggling with how to recognize students at risk of becoming the next school shooter. Five months after an expelled student was charged with opening fire at his former Parkland, Florida, high school, killing 17 people, guidance being distributed nationwide focuses not just on identifying troubled students, but assessing their risk of becoming violent. It's meant to be part of the comprehensive safety plans that schools follow to secure their buildings and respond to emergencies. view article arw

FAMILY SEPARATIONS UPDATE

July 1308:30 AM
 

Federal officials said Thursday they had reunited all “eligible” immigrant children with their parents — 57 of the identified 103 “tender age” kids. But lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union charged they have no way to confirm those numbers at all in a court filing Thursday — and they recounted a number of anecdotes where federal officials mishandled reunifications: view article arw

After meeting with local public safety experts Thursday, Palestine Independent School District Safety Coordinator William Stewart said the district will consider arming teachers and staff under the state's guardian and marshal programs. Acknowledging the programs were controversial, Stewart said he will continue to gather information from the community before making a recommendation to the School Board. He said Westwood has a guardian program. view article arw

Georgetown ISD is getting closer to making all its campuses safer this upcoming school year. The district is installing what it calls "secure entrances" at every school. "Safety and security is a huge priority for our school board,” said Bryan Hallmark, assistant superintendent of operations and school leadership. “Our community and our district staff." view article arw

When 14 Brazoria County teenagers attempted suicide within a span of six weeks, Brenda George knew something was wrong. “I really said, ‘I’m way too busy,’” said George, pastor of New Birth Church in Freeport. “But God said, ‘No, you cannot be too busy, because these children need a voice.’” view article arw

Clear Creek ISD's school safety committee has advised against purchasing metal detectors and arming teachers, instead opting to back the hiring of 15 additional police officers and 15 student support counselors, according to preliminary recommendations. The committee will host a public meeting at 6 p.m. on July 16 to receive community feedback on the recommendations before presenting its final list to the district's board of trustees. It will be held at Clear Springs High School, 501 Palomino Lane, in League City. view article arw

A school district just south of Houston has approved at least $1.5 million for increased security at its high school where a gunman killed eight students and two teachers two months ago. The Santa Fe Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to spend the money on security measures at Santa Fe High School, including new door locks, a lobby security vestibule and a new alarm system. view article arw

A Utah movie theater has canceled a planned town hall on gun reform with survivors of the Florida high school massacre, saying the event "appears to be escalating into a potentially contentious situation." The Salt Lake Tribune reports Larry H. Miller Megaplex Theatres pulled out of a contract Wednesday to host the event at its South Jordan location, saying it would refund the deposit and help the organizers find another space. view article arw

A proposal for the Lamesa school district to create its own police department was given the go-ahead by school board members during their regular meeting on Tuesday evening. Without taking any action the board agreed for Superintendent Jim Knight to move forward on what he said would likely be a two- to three-month process to create the new department. “It’s really not that big of a thing to do,” Knight said, noting that other schools of similar size to Lamesa already have created their own police department in the interest of improving school security. view article arw

More than a dozen students who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have filed a civil rights lawsuit alleging that numerous officials failed to stop the Valentine's Day massacre at their school.The lawsuit names Broward County, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, Broward County sheriff's deputy and school resource officer Scot Peterson, Capt. Jan Jordan with the Broward Couty Sheriff's Department and school security monitor Andrew Medina among the defendants.  view article arw

) A school district near Houston has approved at least $1.5 million for increased security at its high school where a gunman killed eight students and two teachers two months ago. The Santa Fe Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to spend the money on security measures at Santa Fe High School, including new door locks, a lobby security vestibule and a new alarm system. view article arw

Trustees of Santa Fe Independent School District approved new safety measures, last night. Media outlets report the board decided to install new locks inside classrooms, remodel the front entrance to the school with bulletproof glass, and install new alarms and panic buttons in classrooms. view article arw

Nikolas Cruz, the gunman charged in the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting, allegedly told a coworker's mother last summer that he might shoot people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School because of his expulsion. Giovanna Cantone, according to documents released Wednesday by Florida prosecutors, told investigators in the aftermath of the massacre that Cruz had called her at a Dollar Tree store in Parkland last year. view article arw

Bandera ISD physicals scheduled

July 1208:15 AM
 

Bandera ISD requires that all students participating in athletics each year to have a current physical. Physicals can be obtained locally from area medical providers. If you choose to have your personal physician perform your athletic physical, all paperwork will be due prior to the 2018-2019 school year. view article arw

Repost _ AUSTIN — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently announced that he will donate metal detectors to Santa Fe ISD, but the district hasn’t yet decided whether to take them.On May 18, Santa Fe High School, 35 miles southeast of Houston, was the site of a mass shooting left 10 dead and 13 injured. “The installation of metal detectors will require an assessment of the schools to determine the equipment and training recommended to operate metal detectors,” according to a Santa Fe ISD statement in response to Patrick’s offer.  Patrick also pledged to create a matching fund program in the next legislative session for other schools that install metal detectors or use wands; to retroactively reimburse districts that buy metal detectors; and promised money “for schools to install exit emergency push bar doors that prevent outside intrusion but can be opened from the inside so that no child is trapped in case of fire or an active shooter,” according to a statement. view article arw

FAMILY SEPARATIONS UPDATE

July 1108:35 AM
 

Despite a deadline to reunify immigrant children under five with their parents, dozens of toddlers are still separated — though three young kidswere reunited with their fathers late Tuesday in El Paso. view article arw

Update:  If Santa Fe ISD decides to use metal detectors at Santa Fe Junior High and Santa Fe High School, the district will officially have plenty of detectors to use. The district announced earlier this summer it has been offered free machines if metal detectors are approved by a safety committee and the school board. Last week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also announced he would donate 10 detectors to the district as it recovers from a mass shooting May 18 that killed 10 and injured 13. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott asked state lawmakers to identify $20 million to expand mental health screenings for Texas students after the mass shooting that killed 10 people at Santa Fe High School. Abbott’s office is touting a telemedicine program developed at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center that uses videoconferencing technology, similar to Skype or FaceTime, to screen and identify middle and high school students who pose a risk to themselves or others. view article arw

Tonight, dozens of parents gathered at the Mineola Middle School to discuss their concerns of student safety within the district. The meeting was calm, but parents’ concerns were serious. In the last 18 months, Mineola Independent School District has worked with local law enforcement to make several safety changes to the school. view article arw

Two school resource officers or SROs will join Stanton ISD students and faculty in the hallways this August. Stanton ISD Superintendent Merl Brandon said safety is the top priority, but that there are other benefits to having officers on campus. “I have seen what can happen behind the scenes with a school resource officer," Brandon said. "They help develop leadership programs within the school and they do drug and alcohol counseling.” view article arw

A school district northwest of San Antonio recently announced all high school students who plan to participate in extracurricular activities will be required to take a drug test. The students will be subject to one test at the end of July before activities begin, and additional random tests throughout the year. "The way we look at it is extracurricular activities are a privilege. It's the same thing as 'no pass, no play,'" district Superintendent Kevin Newsom said. view article arw

Celina ISD has released an online survey to the community regarding programs for enhancing school safety measures. The survey is one step in many as the district researches school safety programs in surrounding areas. This survey highlights the Defender Program, which allows selected school faculty members and district employees to carry on campus. “As large as we’re growing, we really welcome the community and our parents to weigh in on this,” said Jill Roza, Celina ISD parent and community liaison.   view article arw

Santa Fe ISD's Board of Trustees will vote Tuesday on whether to install several security features to Santa Fe High School in coming weeks, a little less than two months after a 17-year-old gunman opened fire, killing 10 and wounding 13. Among their options: installing panic buttons across campus, constructing fencing to wrap around the entire campus, remodeling the front entrance, relocating some classes and installing locking mechanisms inside every classroom door. view article arw

It's a time of turmoil for schools across the country. School shootings have terrified students, parents and teachers, as well as communities,, and created a number of challenges for professionals who design schools. Steve Ellinger, architect at Abilene-based CADCO Architects and Engineers, has been mulling those challenges since being named to Gov. Greg Abbott's school safety committee in the wake of the May 18 Santa Fe High School shooting. view article arw

Even before the recent string of school shootings, Maypearl ISD and the Maypearl Police Department had already initiated discussions of a districtwide police department. And now, the district is prepared to hire its first chief of police. The decision to move forward came after the district conducted a June 7 town hall meeting to gain vital feedback from the community about school safety. view article arw

Canutillo Independent School District just signed on a new officer to the squad with a very special skill set. Officer Alis will be responsible for sniffing out any trouble on campus. “She's a Belgian Malinois,” K9 Officer Carlos Macias said. For Alis, there will be no summer vacation. view article arw

With mental health-related calls to Austin ISD police increasing each year and the workload of school counselors becoming more burdensome, AISD has opened 40 school mental health centers and added about 100 non-district mental health specialists since 2011. Mental health centers are designated rooms on district campuses where licensed mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists or therapists, meet with students, families and staff to work through mental health barriers that could be affecting the student. view article arw

Nine days before a 17-year-old Santa Fe High School student allegedly opened fire and killed eight classmates and two substitute teachers, Shad Cundiff’s son learned someone wanted him dead. Another student, who was not the eventual shooter, had sent a Snapchat message saying he would have a “surprise” for Cundiff’s son and two other football players in coming days. The student also told a female friend he intended to stab the boys at school, a threat so convincing the young woman told school administrators. view article arw

Nerf bullets, kickball and escape rooms are all tools to connect police officers and Frisco ISD students at the Junior Police Academy this summer. Every week, about 60 students undergo training and learn the finer points of building searches, dispatch and other skills police officers use every day. “It's an interaction with the police officers and kids, just another step of kind of bridging that gap. Letting the kids see the officers in a different light,” said Lt. Mike Hagan, who heads the school resource officer and special investigations departments. view article arw

Medina ISD is tackling a big issue for the next school year. The school district will require some high school students to take a drug test. A letter was sent from the school district to parents and students. According to the letter, all students wishing to participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities, like athletics, cheerleading, academic clubs, those in music, or drama, and student government, or any other activity or group that participates in contests, competitions, or community services projects as a representative of the district will be impacted. It also states that any student wishing to drive, or park on school property will be required to take the drug test. view article arw

Metal detectors

July 0908:40 AM
 

They’re like magic. More than a month after a deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School left 10 dead and 13 injured, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is taking steps to tighten security in the southeast Texas school district, part of an effort by the state’s Republican leadership to “harden” schools as targets. view article arw