By Cassidy Pate, News Editor
At the Belton Board of Trustees meeting last Monday, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Mike Morgan presented a school safety and security update for the 2020-21 school year in which he described Emergency Operations Planning (EOP) in line with Senate Bill 11 among additional measures the district is taking to protect the wellbeing of its students and faculty.
Senate Bill 11 was passed on June 6, 2019 and conveys the necessary policies and procedures within a school district to increase mental health awareness, as well as the proclamation that parents must be informed of any possible risks being posed on their child.
ESC Region 12 Counseling Services assisted Belton ISD in their preparatory efforts regarding Senate Bill 11, the Behavioral Threat Assessment Model (BTAM) and mass reunification training. Over 115 staff members from across the district underwent BTAM training, wherein they studied the importance of intervention and implementation in order to create a space of communication between students and faculty.
“…the number one goal of the behavioral threat assessment is to intervene and keeping students safe and get the support they need,” Morgan said.
Regarding district planning, Morgan said Belton ISD has established a district safety committee, as well as individual campus safety committees to alleviate any miscommunications and establish mutual ground throughout each school.
“They all put in a lot of hard work, and they all do a lot to help our safety in schools program,” Morgan said. “We still have four meetings left this year, and we have a lot of great things that we want to cover and a lot of great work we’d like to do with our community members involved.”
Morgan added that cooperative planning is being applied to connect the district with local law enforcement, and school resource officer meetings and law enforcement collaboration meetings will be held to associate these entities.
In addition to these measures, assessments have been made to take the district’s lighting, security cameras, perimeter fencing, lock and communication systems into consideration. Morgan credited the safety and security budget, capital improvement plans and state and federal grants for allowing the district to make these improvements and continue to introduce more come spring.
Substitute teachers must take the same training courses as full-time employees, including Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE), “Stop the Bleed,” Standard Response Protocol, Behavioral Threat Assessment, Mental Health First Aid and must be Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)/First Aid/Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certified.
Morgan also mentioned student safety drills, which are in place to ensure students are prepared in case of an emergency. Fire drills, evacuation and reunification plans, learning how and where to take shelter, undergoing lock down drills and completing intruder assessments, which detect a person’s levels of anxiety.
Meals for Shields – free meals for first responders and law enforcement serving Belton ISD – Anonymous Alerts and prevention tactics, such as HALO Smart Sensors for vape detection, detection dogs, parent updates and community presentations have also been included in the district’s school safety initiative.
Incorporated in the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Safety and Security Grant are four district developments to enhance school security: 1) additional perimeter fencing, 2) a district-wide, two-way radio system, 3) locking systems and 4) shatter proof film.