August 13, 2018
As part of the 2014 Bond Program, campus renovations like this one at Watkins Middle School include a secured vestibule that prevents visitors from entering the building without first checking into the main office.
Aug. 13, 2018—Following a summer of planning, the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD safety and security committee unveiled its 2018-2019 Safety and Security Action Plan at the Board of Trustees committee-of-the-whole meeting on Aug. 9.
Comprised of representatives of the CFISD leadership team, the committee hosted a series of meetings throughout June and July to review current security initiatives that are already in place as well as explore what additional layers could be implemented for the district this year. Featuring roundtable discussions with experts as well as input from all campus principals and the Community Leadership Committee, the meetings resulted in an action plan focused on prevention of, identification and intervention of and response to potential security threats during a time when the nationwide focus is on school safety.
CFISD Police Officer Paul Hindman speaks with Cypress Woods High School Assistant Principal John Allbritton between class periods during the 2017-2018 school year. The police force has added 22 commissioned police officers in the last year.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s School and Firearm Safety Action Plan, released on May 30, was used by the committee as a baseline to review school safety and implement recommended strategies.
“During my tenure as a school superintendent, our biggest challenge in educational leadership has evolved from simply educating students to protecting them,” said Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent of schools. “In light of more violent tragedies that occurred inside our nation’s schools last year, our safety and security committee brought a renewed focus to this crucial topic and developed a plan that we feel will best protect our students and staff in 2018-2019 and beyond.”
The following summary of the safety and security committee’s action plan can be found in more detail on the district website under the “Safety for All” block:
The CFISD police department has increased its number of commissioned police officers from 86 in 2017 to 108 for 2018-2019. The department will also implement three K-9 units trained in narcotics and nitrate detection. Two police officers will transition into mental health officer positions to assist the guidance and counseling and psychological services departments in addressing mental health concerns on campuses.
“Our strong reputation and diligent recruiting efforts have resulted in a fully-staffed police force that we feel is better equipped to serve the CFISD community than ever before,” said Eric Mendez, CFISD chief of police. “Adding dogs and mental health officers to the department will enhance our ability to protect a continually growing number of students and staff.”
Safety and security upgrades funded by the 2014 Bond Program continue to roll out at campuses, including secured entry vestibules, bullet-resistant glass, additional security cameras and emergency call stations. Panic buttons will be installed in all portable buildings in 2018-2019.
CFISD Police Lt. Casey Davis gives campus administrators hands-on training in the newly adopted Standard Reunification Method on Aug. 2 at Cypress Park High School.
“The Texas School Safety & Security Council (TSSC), an organization of Texas school police chiefs, has been examining best practices in existing school districts and they have found Cypress-Fairbanks ISD to be the leading school district in Texas in the application of facility security measures,” said Dan Boggio, president and CEO of PBK Architects. “We applaud the district for continuing to assess the myriad of school security options available with the goal of maximizing school security.”
All students in grades 6-12 will be required to wear a student ID badge during the instructional day and will join elementary students in wearing the badges on board school buses. All school visitors will be distinguished by a visitor badge issued at check-in.
Backpacks worn by secondary students on school property are required to be clear backpacks. Belongings carried inside or outside of the backpack are limited to no more than two non-transparent 6- by 9-inch purse(s) or similar bag(s). Approved extracurricular bags including instrument cases are permitted in the building but must be stored in respective areas during the instructional day. Visitors to Cy-Fair FCU and Pridgeon stadiums in 2018-2019 will be required to limit bags to clear bags or a non-transparent 6-by-9-inch purse or similar bag.
All campuses will implement procedures for limiting entry points for faculty, students and visitors. The district will also continue to explore the possibility of identifying exit-only doors and removing door handles on certain doors. Food deliveries for students will be prohibited by fast food delivery drivers.
Identification and Intervention
Campuses will continue to advertise the Cy-Fair Tipline for students, an internal and anonymous reporting system. A visible button will be added to each campus website for easy sharing with the CFPD and campus administration. The CFPD will continue to work with the Houston Regional Intelligence Service Center to identify potential threats on social media.
Reginald Lillie, CFISD Community Leadership Committee member, offers input on the safety and security action plan during a July 30 meeting at CFISD’s Instructional Support Center.
Two mental health intervention teams, each consisting of two licensed professional counselors, a licensed specialist in school psychology and a mental health school resource officer, have been developed to assist students, administration and parents in developing a positive and proactive plan for mental health. All teachers, counselors, district and campus administrators, transportation and community programs staff will undergo mental health assessment training prior to the start of the school year. All elementary and secondary counselors will be trained on completing threat assessment interviews.
CFISD’s school safety and security committee will meet three times per year and provide updates and reports to the Board of Trustees twice a year.
All campuses will continue to implement and practice emergency operations plans, based on a template provided by the Texas School Safety Center. All campus and district administrators will be trained in the Standard Response Protocol and Standard Reunification Method prior to the start of the school year.
All staff members will receive active shooter training prior to the start of the school year, while all CFPD officers are required to complete active shooter trainings such as ALERRT and ERASE as well as crisis intervention training. A mental health crisis response team consisting of licensed behavior health professionals has been formed to respond during critical incidents.
View the Safety and Security Action Plan presented during the Aug. 9 Board of Trustees work session on the CFISD YouTube channel. For all safety- and security-related details in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, visit www.cfisd.net/safety.