The Victoria ISD is committed to ensuring the safety of our students and staff, and the safety and security of our district, campuses, and facilities remain a top priority for district and campus administrators.
Prior to the tragic events at Uvalde CISD, the VISD began taking steps to increase safety and security at our campuses and facilities; however, as events like Robb Elementary, Oxford High School, Santa Fe High School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School continue to occur, VISD is highly aware of the continuous need to implement and upgrade district and campus-wide response and recovery.
The District is committed to transparency with our parents, staff, and community and strives to provide critical updates on what we are doing to actively remain vigilant in maintaining safety and security in VISD.
The District will implement additional safety and security responses starting in the 2022-2023 school year.
- During school hours, only VISD staff and students will be allowed on District property. Parents/guardians are required to check in at the campus's front office and receive a visitor's pass. Effective Monday, August 1, 2022, private citizens may no longer access campus property or tracks (Stroman campus or Liberty campus) during school hours for safety and security purposes.
- The Clear Bag Policy will now include all middle school gymnasiums in addition to the Aquatics Center, Patti Welder Stadium, the District Event Center, Victoria East, West Gymnasiums, and Frost Field at Memorial Stadium.
- Perimeter Barrier improvements: Additional fencing and gates to restrict campus access, video coverage of blind zones, and bollards to prevent unobstructed vehicular access.
- Building Envelope Improvements: Access Control Systems (i.e., badge readers and video intercoms) expansion, improvements to locks, door alarms, delayed entry film, directional and warning signage, and increased emergency response training for staff.
- A new comprehensive VoIP telephone system and PA broadcast system will be implemented. The system will allow for mass communications district-wide, campus-wide, and sub-areas within campuses for regular and emergency notifications.
The VISD Risk Management Office, along with the Office of Administration, in consultation with Jeb Lacey, RS Consulting, continue to coordinate efforts to ensure that VISD complies with all the requirements from the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
TEA released a second communication on July 21, 2022, which details additional tools that will assist in the implementation of the objectives of the June 30, 2022 memorandum.
Victoria ISD will conduct:
- Weekly Exterior Door Sweeps—all campuses will engage in frequent and regular exterior door sweeps, beginning the first-week students return to campus. Classroom doors will remain closed and locked during instructional hours on all campuses. Campus checks will be conducted to ensure doors are locked.
- Active Threat Exercises—while active threat exercises are not required, according to Texas Administrative Code (state.tx.us). The guidance from TEA recommends that active threat exercises are best operationalized as a multi-jurisdictional effort, including local law enforcement, fire, and EMS working together to test communications and capacity during a simulated event. VISD recently engaged in a tabletop exercise (which is the precursor to a simulated event) with all the entities recommended.
- Required Summer Safety Trainings—Campus leaders have undergone preliminary orientation of the school safety requirements from TEA:
- Schools must train staff on campus safety procedures, including their responsibilities with regard to access control procedures as well as their responsibilities during drills to be conducted during the school year;
- Threat assessment teams must be trained in accordance with Texas Education Code, § 37.115 ©(2). Learn more at Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management for Educators and Administrators | Texas School Safety Center (txstate.edu).
Districts are required to respond to a survey issued by the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) to certify each of the above items has been completed by September 1.
The VISD Safety and Security Committee is scheduled to meet at noon on August 4.
The TEA, with the support of the TxSSC, is requiring all Texas school districts to engage in a process to audit the safety of their school campuses in response to guidance from Governor Greg Abbott; TEA and the TxSSC are coordinating the school safety audits in response to the tragic mass shooting which took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
In a letter dated June 2, Governor Abbott explained that his initial efforts to put measures in place to make Texas schools safer were initially motivated by the Sante Fe High School shootings, and he never anticipated the subsequent tragedy which unfolded in Uvalde.
In addition to newly adopted standards relating to campuses constructed after November 1, the governor directed the Commissioner of Education to “immediately prepare additional rules to ensure that existing school facilities are held to heightened safety standards.” The letter also directed TEA “to determine the costs for school districts to comply with these heightened standards for existing facilities.” Lastly, the letter mandated that TEA “instruct school districts to identify actions they can take before the start of the new school year that will make their campuses more secure.”
Subsequently, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath sent a letter dated June 30 to school superintendents and other district leaders detailing how districts can prepare to operationalize the expectations from TEA related to elevated school safety measures. In addition to the safety assessments and other activities, districts are expected to hold meetings with the School Safety and Security Committee to brief them on the outcomes of these activities, which include:
- Summer Targeted Partial Safety Audit;
- an Exterior Door Safety Audit;
- convening the district’s Safety and Security Committee (as mentioned above);
- ensure all campus staff are trained on their specific campus safety procedures;
- schedule all mandatory drills for the year;
- ensure all Threat Assessment Team members are trained, and
- update access control procedures.
VISD will continue to update the public on all school safety-related information to the greatest extent possible to ensure you are informed about our efforts to optimize safety for our students and staff. We will also ensure that we have school safety-related information prominently displayed on our VISD website.
Questions regarding the district’s school safety efforts should be directed to Let’s Talk on www.visd.net by selecting the topic Risk Management > Safety/Emergency Operations.