• Message from the Superintendent

  • Safety & Security

    Posted by Dr. Mark Henry, Ed.D. on 6/14/2022

    Dear CFISD Community,

    The last several weeks have been difficult for many throughout our state. Our hearts remain with those impacted by the May 24 tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde CISD, and we join the Tomball and Cypress communities in mourning the members of the Collins family who lost their lives on June 2. 

    Following the Uvalde tragedy, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called for special legislative committees to be convened to prevent future school shootings. The governor requested for recommendations to be made in five key areas—school safety, mental health, social media, police training and firearm safety. This summer, we will be reviewing all of our safety and security measures in order to see if we are doing the best possible job of protecting students and staff. However, I wanted to take some time to summarize how CFISD has previously made efforts in each of these components.

    School safety
    In 2011, CFISD formed its own law enforcement agency to enhance safety and security throughout the district.

    • The department, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, has expanded to more than 100 fully commissioned, well-trained officers and has added four K-9s that specialize in narcotics and gunpowder / explosives detection.
    • The current assignment of officers is two per high school, one per middle school and zoned support for elementary schools.
    • During its June 13 meeting, the CFISD Board of Trustees approved a budget that included funding for six additional police officers to help expand districtwide patrol coverage.
    • The CFISD police department (CFPD)’s upgraded telecommunication systems allow the department to maintain close communication with neighboring law enforcement agencies in the event of an emergency.
    • The CFPD monitors and patrols the district 365 days a year. In addition, CFISD police dispatch can be reached 24/7 at 281-897-4337.

    In 2017, we expanded the office of emergency management (OEM) to complement the CFPD.

    • This department conducts districtwide security audits to ensure all campuses are adequately prepared for emergencies.
    • In 2018-2019, we worked with an outside consultant (True North Consulting) to prepare for safety recommendations for the 2019 bond program.
    • The CFISD OEM implemented Navigate 360 technology to house all campus floorplans and emergency operation plans (EOP) for quick access in facilitating a coordinated emergency response with other emergency response agencies and track emergency drills and training. The EOP also outlines Traumatic Injury Response Protocol.

    The 2014 bond program dedicated $55 million to safety and security upgrades including:

    • secured vestibules at all campuses;
    • bullet-resistant glass at front entrances;
    • additional security cameras;
    • lockdown panic buttons;
    • card reader access locks; and
    • security intrusion panels.

    The 2019 bond program dedicated $207.6 million to even more safety and security enhancements, including:

    • segmentation of open-concept floor plans in elementary schools;
    • fencing around portable buildings and playgrounds;
    • classroom phones;
    • impact-resistant glass on doors and high-traffic areas;
    • secure vestibule enhancements;
    • replacement of classroom door hardware;
    • addition of door prop alarms; and
    • additional lockdown buttons and card reader access locks.

    We have made significant progress on these projects; for example, classroom phones have all been installed and campus fencing is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. Major renovation projects including security upgrades are being completed in seven phases, and the third phase is currently under construction.

    In 2018-2019, we implemented a clear backpack policy for all secondary students as well as a clear bag policy for visitors to Pridgeon and Cy-Fair FCU stadiums.

    All campuses have implemented procedures for limiting entry points for faculty, students and visitors before and during the instructional day as well as between main and portable buildings. Their specific procedures are updated annually within the campus emergency operations plan and submitted for review to CFPD and the OEM.

    The CFISD Safety and Security Committee was expanded in 2018 to help plan for heightened security protocols while remaining in close communication with district and campus leaders, as well as district and local law enforcement agencies and first responders. The committee meets regularly throughout the year.

    Mental health
    Through collaborations and partnerships among three different departments—guidance and counseling, psychological services and CFPD—the district mental health intervention team (MHIT) was formed in 2018-2019.

    • The MHIT is comprised of four licensed professional counselors, two licensed psychologists and two mental health police officers.
    • This unique and creative team was established for the purpose of developing a more proactive, targeted, and safe approach to dealing with mental health issues in our district.

    We know that positive relationships are key in deterring potential situations, and our counselors work to maintain these with students throughout our campuses.

    • Our Board of Trustees approved an additional elementary counselor allocation beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.
    • Currently, CFISD has allocated 288 counseling positions. Depending on enrollment, each elementary school has 2-3 counselors, each middle school has 3-4 counselors and each high school has 8-9 counselors.
    • Other initiatives include Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) methodology and campus mentoring programs.

    All campus staff are required to complete mental health assessment training. CFISD elementary and secondary counselors are trained on completing threat assessment interviews using information compiled from recognized national curriculum.

    Social media
    Besides being available to respond in the time of a crisis, CFPD officers provide many proactive measures, such as:

    • investigating all potential threats;
    • monitoring social media through a collaboration with the Fusion Center;
    • fielding Cy-Fair Tipline reports;
    • making home visits;
    • mentoring students; and
    • providing classroom presentations.

    Campus administrators, CFPD and our student services department routinely investigate social media tips and threats, and our students are continually reminded that if they see something, say something!

    Police training
    The CFPD routinely undergoes annual training and professional development for all officers and command staff, adapting to the latest state and local law enforcement standards.

    • CFPD officers have attended “Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT)” and have also completed the state-mandated “TCOLE Active Shooter Response For School-Based Law Enforcement (#2195) Training,” and many officers will complete the trainings this summer.
    • In addition, officers train yearly for “Use of Force/Active Shooter” incidents and often use campuses. This summer, officers will attend an active shooter response refresher course.
    • In the summer of 2021, the OEM held “Active Incident Training” for CFPD officers.
    • The OEM also conducted a “Reunification Functional Exercise” for a CFISD campus in the spring of 2022. This functional exercise is planned for all CFISD campuses.
    • All CFPD officers will join health services staff in becoming certified in “Stop the Bleed” training, and will train campus staff during August professional development week to prepare for bleeding emergencies.
    • All officers are trained in ALERRT’s “Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events,” or CRASE, and will provide the training to all campus staff in August.

    Firearm safety
    In addition to the CFPD’s regular internal training on firearm safety, the district posts signage outside of every campus reminding the public that firearms are not permitted on CFISD property. Campuses received updated signage the last week of school that will be displayed in time for the 2022-2023 school year.

    As we have demonstrated over the last decade, CFISD will continue to review and evaluate and determine further safety and security enhancements and/or modifications that are needed moving forward.

    We are determined to keep our schools the safest possible environments for students and staff.

    Sincerely,

    Mark Henry, Ed.D.
    Superintendent of schools

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