How Accessible Are East Texas Schools?

Despite several school shootings across the country over the past week, East Texas school administrators do not want parents to worry about whether their kids are safe at school.

SGT Danny Anders, School Resource Officer for Central I.S.D., said, "Doors inside the school are locked. They're not allowed to be opened by students from the inside. If somebody knocks, it's the teacher's responsibility to see who's there before they let somebody in."

Before you get to the main office at most East Texas schools, you'll find postings requesting visitors to check in. It's part of a policy to keep track of who's on campus and why, but administrators know not all school visitors always check in.

Wells I.S.D. Superintendent Dale Morton said, "Starting immediately, parents will find that during the school day there is one entry to each campus - that being the main entry to the campus - and they will be able to come in that door only. Other doors will all have signs that indicate you need to come in the front entrance."

But even if visitors are not stopped once they get inside a building, they may still be under surveillance. School employees usually find out quickly whenever a parent, relative, friend, or anyone has entered a school building without signing in.

Sgt. Anders said, "[Recent school shootings] just heightens our awareness and we take a little bit more precaution every time and try to improve our security from every standpoint that we can."

Education leaders know it is difficult to keep potential troublemakers out without making their students feel locked in, but gates, cameras, and locked doors may be what it takes to keep them safe in the classroom.

Many East Texas administrators had district-wide meetings this week to talk about strengthening their policies and tightening security on their campuses.