Safety Audit | TX Schools Still Vulnerable

Safety Audit
Empty Classroom In Elementary School | Image by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) recently released a report after it conducted a safety audit of public school campuses last fall in collaboration with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the state’s education service centers.

“Random intruder detection audits” became mandatory following a directive by Gov. Greg Abbott to ensure school buildings are adequately secured following the deadly school shooting in Uvalde last May.

The report states that auditors were able to gain unauthorized access to nearly 5% of the 2,864 campuses they audited between September and December of 2022.

Out of those campuses, inspectors were able to gain entry through a secondary door in 86.9% of cases. A little more than 12% of the time, they successfully entered via the primary entrance.

Most alarmingly, data in the report indicate that inspectors who gained entry were not stopped or confronted in roughly 45% of cases.

Additionally, TxSSC found that 28.4% of all the audited campuses required corrective actions. A little more than half of those campuses had made the necessary changes to ensure security by the time of the report’s publication on Wednesday.

The report did not indicate what specific corrective actions were needed, nor did it identify which campuses or districts needed to take them.

TxSSC’s findings coincide with the publication of a new poll that found roughly 53% of Texans feel there is “at least a moderate risk that public school students in their community might experience a mass shooting event at school.”

The poll also found that about 40% of respondents feel there is “at least a moderate risk to their own child.”

The Dallas Express reached out to Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD, and Arlington ISD and asked whether any of their campuses were accessed without authorization during the audits. They were also asked whether TxSSC informed them of any needed corrective action at any of their campuses.

No response was received from any of the districts by press time.

As previously reported in The Dallas Express, a vagrant breached a Fort Worth ISD all-girls school and entered the girls’ restroom after gaining entry through a malfunctioning door last year.

At Arlington ISD, a man effortlessly brought a gun onto a district campus, which was only discovered when he accidentally shot himself in the leg.

For its part, Dallas ISD had an elementary school student fire a gun he brought to campus, prompting renewed worry and discussion over how safe the district was last October.

Crystal Hernandez, a DISD parent with one child in middle school and another in high school, told WFAA that, when her middle schooler started sixth grade, she put him in virtual learning because she worried about his safety.

“We want to go back in person, but when you hear about all the stuff that continues to happen … guns discharging at elementary schools,” Hernandez said. “We’re not safe. We’re still not safe.”

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