About 100 residents showed up to a meeting on July 16 to provide feedback on school safety improvements drafted by a volunteer group.
The Clear Creek ISD School Safety Committee, which is made up of parents, students, staff, law enforcement officers, mental health experts and religious leaders, met several times throughout June and July to come up with a list of recommended improvements, which include:
- Adding 15 school liaison officers
- Adding 15 student-support counselors
- Enhancing training and prevention techniques
- Improving security systems
The committee does not recommend arming teachers, installing metal detectors or employing marshals with concealed-handgun permits.
“The group came to a wide consensus that these measures, at this time, would shift CCISD from a nurturing learning environment to one synonymous with a penitentiary,” the report reads.
The group could not come to a consensus on whether clear backpacks would increase student safety, noting there are concerns with student privacy and the ability to conceal weapons in transparent bags.
“Very few of the decisions we made were easy,” committee co-chairman Richard Rennison said.
Several residents shared their thoughts on the committee’s ideas at Monday’s meeting at Clear Springs High School.
Recent CCISD graduate Catherine Tyler spoke for several minutes, expressing her concerns with suggestions to change dress codes, install “expensive” and “ineffective” secure entrances, and implement programs proven to be failures. Instead, the district should identify at-risk students and give them access to mental health professionals and allow students to anonymously submit tips to police about potential threats, Tyler said.
A few others spoke about the importance of getting mental health help for students who need it. One choked-up student claimed counselors did not help her when she complained she was being bullied and wants that fixed.
The committee already believes the school district has done much to promote student safety, including having secure entrances, improved surveillance of school activities, perimeter fencing and bullet-resistant film on entryways.
At Superintendent Greg Smith’s request, the committee came up with its recommendations without considering the cost, according to the report. Smith met with Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday to discuss the school district’s safety and funding concerns, a school district official said.
The committee will take residents’ comments into consideration and possibly amend its recommendations before presenting them to the Clear Creek ISD board of trustees on Monday, July 23, officials said.