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Some West Texas schools expand security protocols ahead of first day of classes

Police departments are collaborating with school districts and conducting specific training aimed at protecting students and staff.

TEXAS, USA — In the wake of the school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, some West Texas school districts are strengthening security on campuses and are preparing for any possible scenarios.

“Teachers and staff should be trained yearly on school safety. Keeping doors locked and what to do in these situations? Not just a PowerPoint of what can happen. They really need that training where they have an active shooter situation come in but it's just for practice and they know how to react to it,” Abilene parent Kayla Stoddard said. 

Throughout the summer, school districts including Christoval, Abilene Wylie and Abilene ISDs have all adopted new training and specific tactics geared towards preparing students and staff for any active shooter incident. 

Years ago, Christoval ISD implemented a guardian program which includes allowing school staff to be armed at the school and be trained to protect their classrooms against an active attack. 

“We've updated our maps, our map system to where all of our exterior doors are located for law enforcement purposes should they need to arrive. We have trained our guardian staff and they have been trained heavily this summer,” Christoval ISD Superintendent Clint Askins said.

In addition to that, Christoval principal David Walker said the district prioritizes locking all doors and having active shooting training for students and staff throughout the year. They've had security measures in place since the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, and plan to continue doing what’s needed to keep people safe.

The Abilene Police Department has a partnership with Abilene and Abilene Wylie ISDs and conducts extensive active shooter training. Abilene Police Chief Marcus Dudley said his department is in close contact with the smaller districts in West Texas in case help is needed at any time. 

“Within the big country, we have 19 communities that we support with regards to our SWAT team and we have 21 communities that we support for our bomb team. Being able to be at the ready should one of those smaller communities call us for assistance is a key part of what our SWAT and bomb teams prepare for on a routine basis,” Dudley said.

In San Angelo, San Angelo Police Department Public Information Officer Richard Espinoza said the department is working in conjunction with the San Angelo ISD to continue to provide security at schools throughout the district. The department also conducts daily checks on schools within city limits that are not a part of the SAISD and conducts “ALERRT", which stands for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training.

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