Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Stephanie Elizalde, the new superintendent for Dallas ISD, held a press conference to talk about school safety.
This is something that has always been the top priority for the district, Elizalde says, but it’s especially important now. The discussion comes just months after a shooter killed 21 people — 19 students and two teachers — at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
Elizalde says through the 2020 bond, the district has been able to invest around $100 million in school safety measures. These include: upgrading and adding security cameras; keyless entries, access to schools, video doorbells; ensuring there are secure vestibules on campuses; weapon detection systems; and classroom door locks and devices.
“This is going to require a multi-prong approach,” Elizalde says. “This is about layering our safety and security protocols.”
The Dallas ISD Police Department is continuing to investigate social media to help ensure safety.
John Lawton, the chief for Dallas ISD Police Department, says partnerships with other law-enforcement agencies, such as the Dallas Police Department, are important. He cites an active-shooter exercise that occurred last week, involving Dallas Fire-Rescue, Dallas ISD Police Department and Dallas Police Department. Lawton says these types of exercises will continue.
Elizalde says district employees are also being trained in drills on key priorities, such as where to go, how to lock doors properly and how to communicate with the necessary people during crisis situations.
Last month, Dallas ISD issued a requirement for all middle- and high-school students to have mesh or clear backpacks.
All secondary schools have metal detectors near building entrances, but elementary schools do not.
“What’s reasonable and what makes the school now feel like a prison?” Elizalde asks. “There are no right answers. We’re going to continue to recognize that we do have experience that the majority of students that have had access to weapons tend to be students that are of the secondary age.”
Watch the full press conference below.