The plain and simple truth on school campus safety
From the desk of
COCISD Superintendent Dr. Leland R. Moore
Gun violence on school campuses around the country has been on the rise. The recent tragedy at Santa Fe ISD – right here in our own backyard in Texas – has caused alarm among students, parents, grandparents, and the entire community, understandably so. Random acts of violence like these make no sense to people of sound mind and good character.
Just last week, Friday, May 25th, the Coldspring-Oakhurst High School campus safety plan was activated because of an alleged bomb threat. Our district police department took quick action, county authorities were notified, and students and staff were evacuated in a matter of minutes. Parents and guardians were contacted through the district call-out system and given the option to pick up students at the off-site evacuation location. Notifications and updates went out on social media for parents who may have been out of reach by phone or email. Eventually, the high school campus was cleared by authorities, and the remaining students were returned to campus without incident.
There was no bomb in this instance. But as a district, our top priority is the safety and security of our students and staff. We take every threat seriously. Even before the tragedies in Florida and Santa Fe, our police chief and administrators had conducted campus safety reviews, researched proven security methods, and implemented increased safety measures. COCISD Police Chief Roosevelt Joseph has also coordinated countywide emergency drills with the sheriff’s office, DPS, the SJC Office of Emergency Management, and other emergency offices. We increased drills on the campus level. After the Florida shootings, the COCISD Board of Trustees voted to approve the hiring of armed, trained police officers to be posted on each campus and other security improvements.
No plan is 100% fail-safe, that’s just the way life is. But being as prepared as possible for a variety of emergency situations is the key to keeping our kids and our employees out of harm’s way. We plan for many different scenarios with many different contingencies to try to predict the what-ifs. After a safety plan has been activated – such as the one last week – we meet to go over what worked and what we can do to improve. We will continue to review our safety plans and make changes where they are needed.
Last week showed us that our students, faculty and staff were prepared and did a great job of staying calm and following procedures that were put in place for just such an event. Our parents, guardians, and community members were a great support, and our police department and other emergency officials put in hours of hard work to make sure our high school campus was safe. We deeply appreciate all of you.
School districts are very aware of the concerns for student safety in the current climate of uncertainty and random acts of violence. We are on the side of students. Our main goal, like yours, is to provide a safe environment where kids can learn, grow and become productive citizens and leaders of tomorrow. By being as prepared as possible, and with the support of our parents and community, we can make that happen.
May you have a happy, safe summer break!
Leland R. Moore, Ed.D.