Marble Falls Elementary School welcomes its students back to school with news of the next two holidays. The entire district has strengthened its security measures for the 2022-23 school year, which begins Wednesday, Aug. 17. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman
School doors fling open to welcome students back to class in the Marble Falls Independent School District on Wednesday, Aug. 17, but when they close behind the last kid, they will be locked and stay that way until the final bell.
“We have strengthened and augmented our school safety,” wrote Superintendent Chris Allen in a back-to-school email to parents on Monday.
He listed in the email how that is being done this academic year. The changes include:
designating additional, completely confidential “guardians” to each campus;
keeping all doors on all campuses locked at all times; visitors must go through one designated door and register before entering the school;
conducting “door checks” at least once a week to ensure doors are closing and locking properly;
hiring an additional, full-time employee whose only job is to maintain and repair doors to speed up the timeline for those repairs;
adding more cameras, prop door alarms, and electronically controlled points of entry;
relocating school resource officers (SROs) to high-visibility locations;
and adding more SROs.
The district also plans an initiative that would allow properly vetted parents and community members to have an active role in helping maintain safety and security on campuses, Allen said.
“I have placed a paramount priority on school safety since I arrived in 2015 and continue to push for ways that make our schools safe while meeting parental exceptions for access and availability,” he continued in the email.
He also stressed the role that appropriate and respectful behavior plays in campus safety.
“The district employs a wholistic approach to school security that includes emotional and mental safety,” he said in introducing a link to the district’s Student Code of Conduct. “It is important that you (parents) and your students become familiar with that document and other documents that outline some of your rights, the rights of your student, and behavioral expectations of your student.”
The district is putting an extra emphasis on prohibiting discriminatory behaviors this year.
“MFISD has always prohibited discrimination, and this year we will be highlighting this topic when talking to students (see page 6 of the SCOC),” Allen wrote. “To help ensure all students are familiar with the SCOC and its contents, we are having students take a SCOC quiz early in the school year. Not to worry. No one needs to study for this quiz. It is very much an ‘open book’ activity.”