School Safety Procedures
In Keller ISD, student and employee safety is our top priority, and the District’s Safety and Security Department strives to be creative and innovative in exploring new ideas for safety while continuing to follow school safety best practices.
Keller ISD follows a proactive threat assessment protocol that has been implemented District-wide and addresses threats before students act. The comprehensive threat assessment includes a review of any threat by local law enforcement, campus administration, and a counselor.
Educational tools have been created including public service announcements that have been shown to students and staff reminding them to report anything they see that may be suspicious. The District also uses a roundtable discussion approach when a student behavior concern is reported, so that an intervention plan can be developed, documented, and implemented. The core responses to threats and hazards are done through our Standard Response Protocol.
Additionally, all of our campuses are equipped with security cameras and hold annual lockdown drills.
Please see the topics below for more details on how Keller ISD keeps its students and staff safe:
DRILLS & LOCKDOWNS
With the exception of mandatory fire drills, four state-recommended drills must be incorporated into every school emergency operation plan including lockdown, lockout, shelter for severe weather, and shelter for an outside hazard. It is mandatory that these drills are run at a minimum, twice a year; however, fire drills must be conducted every month. Keller ISD's emergency operations and safety program are all-hazard and our campus drills address each hazard accordingly.
Our lockdown protocol is referred to as an intentional readiness technique. A lockdown is a precautionary measure in response to a threat to a school or the surrounding community. In a lockdown, interior and exterior doors are locked, doors with windows are covered, blinds are closed, students are placed in a safe area out of sight, lights and computer monitors are turned off, and students are directed to be as quiet as possible.
All Keller ISD campuses are in drill compliance for the current school year. During the period of time where COVID protocols have been in place, campuses have conducted hybrid virtual and physical drills that allow for training on emergency procedures without overriding COVID safety measures.
Statistics show that in the history of school shootings, no perpetrator has ever breached a locked classroom door. We have learned from these incidents that shooters are looking for opportune times, such as passing periods and cafeterias where there are large numbers in close proximity. Our expectation is that all campuses will complete a cafeteria drill as part of their drill requirements. The District enhanced the capabilities of classroom locking and security for the 2020-2021 school year through the use of grant funds.
As an added safety measure, our District security staff also conducts intruder drills, which consist of members of the Security Department dressing in plain clothes and making unannounced visits to various campuses. They attempt to access the building through an unsecured door and lastly, they determine how long it takes before their presence is challenged by someone at the school. This has proven to be a valuable addition to the drill process as we move to strengthen our safety protocols.
In addition to school-day drills, we conduct lockdown drills with the Clayton Youth Enrichment after-school program. This year, we have two campuses that will be incorporating a fire alarm component into their drills to see how students and teachers respond. We will always look to continue to maximize our drill process.
With the recommendation of our local law enforcement and the Texas School Safety Center, Keller ISD has trained faculty on the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, also known as CRASE training, or Avoid, Deny, and Defend. Similar to "Run, Hide, Fight," this training ensures more active safety measures by increasing faculty confidence and awareness. Teachers and staff at all 42 campuses had opportunities to receive this training during the previous school year through either in person or virtually through KellerU professional development. Keller ISD's Safety and Security Department continues to provide training to campuses – with the help of local law enforcement officials – on an as-needed basis.
The District knows that in any crisis, time is of the utmost importance. With that in mind, our Safety and Security Department provides every campus with a quick release magnet for all classroom doors and secure locking devices. This will save time by not having to look for keys in a lockdown or emergency and will ensure our substitute teachers have a way to lock their doors without keys. This training and orientation includes our substitute teachers.
Keller ISD has installed emergency lockdown "Blue Light" strobe lights throughout the District. These lights are located in specific areas of the campus and work in conjunction with the District’s automated system for emergency announcements. When a lockdown is initiated, the system will automatically set off the strobe lighting throughout the campus, alerting students and staff that a lockdown is taking place. This also acts as a notification for individuals who may be coming onto the campus. These light are only used for lockdown emergencies and lockdown drills so immediate action can be taken when they are seen.
Keller ISD’s security system has become more and more important. Currently, the District has more than 2,000 IP (internet protocol) cameras. The District’s Safety and Security Department has the ability to view any camera from almost any location on various devices. KISD has a state-of-the-art alarm system in place that can detect motion and includes a virtual keypad that allows Security personnel to arm, disarm, and check alarms from anywhere through the use of a mobile device.
The District’s access control system protects our campuses from unauthorized access and controls the movement of people within our schools. For this reason, all main entry points are equipped with access control. This system will determine the identity of any individual entering a school or accessing any of the secure areas within the building. By mitigating an intruder’s ability to enter the school, staff has time to call 9-1-1 and implement intruder response plans. Our campuses are also equipped with a secure vestibule entrance, which enhances the safety of all students and staff.
Once a visitor enters our facility, they will be asked for a driver’s license or other government ID, which is fed into a hand-size scanner. Their information is quickly checked against all 50 states’ databases for registered sex offenders. A name badge prints out that includes a copy of the ID’s photo, the time the guest checked in, and the campus locations. If there is a match with a sex offender, the school administrator working the desk is immediately alerted.
To allow first responders with immediate access in the event of an emergency, each campus is equipped with secure lockboxes, as well as an emergency panic button. Additionally, Keller ISD has invested in a District-wide communication radio system that allows us to transmit and receive messages from any campus that may need additional assistance.
Keller ISD currently has 23 security specialists including five mobile response officers responsible for patrolling areas in and around our campuses. They are all charged with responding to any campus that may need immediate assistance. Our security officers maintain a level three security license keeping them in compliance with state minimum standards.
The District also has seven School Resource Officers (SROs). Their primary responsibility is law enforcement. Further, all five of our surrounding police agencies are required to make frequent and irregular visits to all of our campuses.
Black Creek K-9 Service is also part of our security staff. Its presence creates the expectation of a safe and drug-free environment through campus canine visits. Black Creek also provides a fully trained certified bomb dog to which the District has access 24/7.
The District understands how important it is to respond to a variety of indicators, including social media activity, verbal or written statements, and/or student outcries. Keller ISD launched one of the earliest comprehensive threat assessments in the State of Texas to encourage students, teachers, and staff to report any threats they see and hear. The primary purpose of the threat assessment is to prevent targeted violence by analyzing the facts and behaviors in a given situation and provide wrap-around services for violence prevention. The threat assessment system reviews reports of potentially harmful or lethal behavior and determines the level of concern, assesses required action, and organizes resources and student support strategies. We have threat assessments with multi-tiered intervention plans, varying in all degrees of potential aggression and risk. We incorporate parents, campus safety resources, campus administrators, counselors, local public safety, and community resources in the process.
The most important thing for parents when students have experienced a crisis or emergency is the reunification with their child. A controlled release is necessary in order to accomplish an accountable reunification. Keller ISD currently has a reunification protocol in place, but the District’s AP Security Committee is proactively developing a new tangible, on-site, and off-site reunification plan. The team has defined the priorities, objectives, strategies and tactics necessary for an event. In addition, the Joint Information Center and the Social Media Teams have been established. The group has established roles and duties of reunification flight teams and procedures. As we continue to finalize the reunification process, we will be inviting students and staff from various grade levels to review and make recommendations.