Houston schools to update security plan

HOUSTON – The school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six adults has stunned the nation and prompted local school officials to look at security measures.

Houston Superintendent Dr. Steve Coker said the district has a security policy – but the schools in Newtown did too – and will make changes.

“As parents dropped off students at our schools Monday morning we know they had concerns,” said Coker. “I want to assure the community our schools are safe and it is our desire to make them safer. The safety of our students – your children – is our top priority.”

Coker said plans are underway to install solid core doors in all classrooms in the district and look at ways to limit access to the building during school hours.
“We are looking at doors that can’t be kicked open or forced open once they are closed,” said Coker. “We currently have those doors in most rooms at the Lower Elementary School and the Middle School. The High School and Upper Elementary School are a little older and need this upgrade.”

Coker said the district will study installing doors that can only be opened from the inside and will have video and audio that allows office staff to observe anyone wanting access to the building.

“We have staff at every building that has been trained in emergency situations similar to the one that struck Newtown,” said Coker. “Newtown had similar training and security measures and the gunman still got in. We are just looking at upgrading our security measures. We can’t afford not to.”

Coker said educators in Houston have been deeply touched by events in Newtown.

“You don’t go into education unless you are passionate about your job,” said Coker. “You also learn to love your students, especially at the elementary level.

“This tragedy has squeezed the heart of every teacher and parent in this district,” said Coker. “We are urging parents to talk with our teachers and principals about their concerns or contact the district office.”


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