Bellaire - Meyerland - West University Edition | August 2022


Education Agency announced in June they would examine safety plans and locks on external doors at school districts across the state prior to the start of the school year. SOURCE: HOUSTON ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • Install 140-180 closed-circuit security cameras on campuses School safety Houston ISD ocials are exploring safety enhancements, including to doors and locks. Entryways • Option A: visitors go through two rooms to get into school • Option B: visitors check in at window, reinforced by hardened glazing Doors • All walls and doors have hardened glazing • Remove doorknobs from all doors • Only administrators able to open electronically controlled doors Other • Build 8-foot-tall fences around campuses • Install access-control systems in parking garages

Houston ISD looks into new school safety enhancements

Bankhead said he also wants to ren- ovate the exterior doors so they do not have a doorknob on the outside and can only be opened with an access key. This way, intruders will not have anything to pull on if they try to break in, Bankhead said. “A lot of times in my business, we spend hundreds, millions of dollars on special security systems, and they’re defeated by a $2 wedge of wood in the door,” Bankhead said. All doors will be lockable from the inside. Many district schools, includ- ing those constructed after a 2007 bond election, already have doors like this, Bankhead said, but some older schools do not. Bankhead said he also looks to install 140-180 new closed-circuit security cameras on HISD campuses. Finally, Bankhead said he wants to compartmentalize the campuses. It will be easier for administrators to control dierent parts of the building if it is separated into sections, he said. “In the case of emergencies, we can even shut o dierent parts of the building,” Bankhead said. Meanwhile, ocials with the Texas


to open the electronically controlled doors. However, not all schools will be able to renovate their entrances using this plan because it is not cost-eective, Bankhead said. In those cases, schools can use a second option described as a “teller window,” Bankhead said. Visitors would check in at the window, which is reinforced by hardened glazing, and be able to go into the school without using a second room. In order to discourage unwanted visitors from even getting into the school, Bankhead proposed building 8-foot-tall fences around campuses, using vegetation, signs and other measures to ensure clear boundary lines. Parking garages and lots will have access-control systems so only students and sta will be allowed to enter them.

Ahead of the start of the 2022-23 school year, ocials with Houston ISD received an update on plans to renovate district schools to make them safer against potential intruders. Renovations include two options for campus entrances as well as exterior and interior security measures. Dan Bankhead, general manager of HISD’s Construction Services Depart- ment, rst unveiled plans at a May 25 meeting of the district’s School Safety and Security committee, which took place one day after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The rst entrance prototype has visitors going through two rooms to get into the school, which Bankhead said will be easier to channel people through an entrance where adminis- trators will be present. All walls and doors would have hardened glazing, and only administrators would be able


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