How Central Texas school districts are addressing safety concerns

Some believe that without gun control reform, lives remain at risk.

Austin, Texas – Editor’s Note: Watch this full report Monday night at 10pm on KVUE News

Since the May shooting in Uvalde, which killed 19 students and two teachers, federal and state leaders have proposed, passed and ordered updated safety measures in hopes of preventing another mass killing on a campus.

KVUE defenders examined how current and new school safety policies are designed to keep students and staff safe.

But some, like Melissa and James Tullos, believe that without gun control reform, students and staff remain at risk.

“I worry about everything,” Melissa Tullos said.

“There are the obvious safety concerns with school shootings,” James Tullos said.

With two participating children Dripping Springs ISDAre they concerned after the shooting at Robb Primary School in Uvalde – despite action taken by elected officials.

“What do we do now? While they may be individual, small improvements won’t really, really make a difference,” said James Tullos.

These “improvements” came after Gov. Greg Abbott allocated them $105.5 million for school safety and mental health initiatives in June.

Items with the highest price tags include $50 million for bulletproof shields and $17.1 million for school districts to purchase silent panic alarm technology.

This is how a version works.

Raptor TechnologiesThe silent panic alert system is web-based, allowing any authorized personnel to use a mobile phone, laptop or desktop to initiate a lockdown and contact first responders – quietly.

David Rogers is the chief marketing officer for Raptor Technologies. He serves more than 5,000 school districts nationwide, including several in Texas.

“An administrative and general chat will open immediately. So, I’ve seen examples where I sat there with an administrator at a conference and they had a gas leak at their school and he was able to communicate with everyone on the site and make sure the gas company got out there. And they evacuated the school and he can chat with people. So that’s another important aspect that makes it very effective,” Rogers said.

“Another reason is that it also allows you to deal with everyday emergencies. So someone who’s sick is fighting in the hallway,” Rogers continued. “It has something we call ‘team assistance’ that allows teachers to summon the nurse if you have a sick student in class SRO [student resource officer]. So it offers many other features that make it very effective.”

Rogers said the silent panic alert system also runs on cellular data.

That’s important because the House Investigative Committee’s report on the Robb Elementary school shooting cited poor Wi-Fi coverage as a reason some teachers and administrators weren’t receiving notifications.


The report showed that Uvalde consolidated ISD began using Raptor’s alerting system in March 2022 and that the school district has been using Raptor’s visitor management system for 10 years.

“The technology itself, in terms of the ability to notify and quickly issue alerts, works very well,” Rogers said.

Here is the letter Raptor sent to the House Inquiry Committee:


Prior to the House report, Governor Abbott charged the Texas School Safety Center with conducting multiple security audits, including “in-person, unannounced, random audits to detect intruders in school districts.”

According to a spokesman for the Texas School Safety Center, inspectors are expected to attend training in August before beginning burglary inspections in September. The spokesman also said the assessments will test access control protocols and will not simulate intruders.

Since 2019, school districts in Texas have been required to form behavioral threat assessment teams. The groups are tasked with identifying students who pose a threat. School districts should also have contingency plans.

Senate bill 11 was adopted in 2019 after the mass shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. 17 people were killed in Parkland and 10 people died in Santa Fe. Senate Bill 11 allowed districts to “harden” schools, or increase the physical security of schools.

at Buda elementary school in Hays County, school officials take school hardening seriously.

Jeri Skrocki is Hays CISD‘s director of safety and security.

“Normally what you’re going to see is probably going to be an area right here,” Skrocki said, showing KVUE defenders how new law enforcement jobs are being set up at all 15 elementary schools.

“It’s really their job to write reports first,” she said.

It is an incentive for law enforcement presence on campus.

This is in addition to existing security measures such as a card access system for doors that remain locked throughout the day.

There is also a security vestibule, or area where visitors wait for staff to grant entry. Guests are then received with a visitor management system that checks IDs.

The KVUE Defenders also wanted to investigate classroom doors and locks.

“We don’t have internal locking mechanisms on our doors because our policy is that the doors remain locked at all times,” Skrocki said.

For the 14 other elementary campuses of Buda Elementary and Hays CISD, the district plans to hire three law enforcement officers to patrol this school year, according to Skrocki. This is in addition to the district’s 12 School Resource Officers (SROs) who have been contracted by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office.

Skrocki’s office is also expanding and gaining additional manpower to ensure safety and security.

“I am 100% confident that the systems we have in place are doing what we expect them to do and are 100% protecting our staff and our students,” Skrocki said.

US Senator Ted Cruz supports school hardening. In July he introduced the Protect Our Children’s School Act.


It would allow schools to use previously unspent federal education-related COVID-19 funds to improve school safety.

“It seems to me a reasonable move to say that when those funds are available, making our schools safer is a real priority. We keep seeing these horrific crimes committed by maniacs targeting our children. We all want to see our kids safer,” Cruz said.

KVUE has reached out to two groups representing educators and public school employees to get their reactions to the new school safety proposals.

Shannon Holmes is Managing Director of Association of Texas Vocational Educators.

“I think the fact that we’re going to look into these is a good thing because the more we can hold people accountable, the more things will get done,” Holmes said.

As a former superintendent, Holmes said he knew firsthand that security and intruder screening works and that security issues on campus have nothing to do with the school.

“We have more of a social problem. There these things are played out on the school campus… So most of these things are threats that come from outside the school campus, not from within the school campus,” Holmes said. “And so I think we need to find a way, whether at the legislative level or at the local level, to think about how we can make our campus safe but welcoming to students.”

Clay Robison with that Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) is not so secure.

“I mean, you have to do more than lock your doors and you have to do more than conduct trials… The end result is the availability of guns to people who shouldn’t have them. And that’s what the governor and the legislature, the majority, refused to do. They refuse to even talk about it,” Robison said.

The TSTA is fighting for gun reform, such as raising the minimum age to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21.

Robison said he knew any gun reform in Texas was an uphill battle.

“Some counties require clear backpacks. The reason is that we don’t have gun reform. That’s the main reason. What do you want to find in those backpacks? Maybe drugs, maybe knives. But what they really want to find doing and what they really don’t want to find in those backpacks is guns,” Robison said.

But gun reform is something James and Melissa Tullos said was long overdue.

“I grew up shooting guns. I grew up hunting. I knew people, I went to school with people who would have had a serious lack of protein in their diet if they hadn’t hunted. I mean they relied on deer hunting for meat. But you don’t use an AK-47 to hunt,” said Melissa Tullos.

To 34 mass shootings in Texas from January 1st to August 2nd of this yearJames and Melissa Tullos are hoping lawmakers will take over gun control when the January legislature begins.

Part of school hardening involves the School Marshal Program, which allows districts to arm teachers. According to that Texas Commission of Law Enforcementthere are 256 marshals in 62 school districts as of July 25.

There are more than 1,200 school districts in Texas.

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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/investigations/defenders/uvalde-shooting-school-safety-policies-before-after/269-b697160e-3079-452a-81b8-410b4894771c How Central Texas school districts are addressing safety concerns

Laura Coffey

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