After a month of meetings, the Friendswood ISD School Safety Advisory Committee shared preliminary recommendations with district trustees Monday, including hiring safety monitors, addressing building access and further exploring a school marshal program.
According to an online survey administered by the district in June, parents ranked hiring additional armed personnel and more controlled access to the grounds as the most important safety measures. Parents also placed metal detectors at high importance, and teachers said monitoring social media was a priority.
However, metal detectors were determined too expensive for the service they provided.
“I think once people became more educated on what unintended consequences we might incur with having the metal detectors—the staffing, the cost, the funnel—all those things put into place, I think minds changed,” Executive Director of Security and Operations Erich Kreiter said. “To be an effective layer, and this is a true statement, as true as it gets, metal detectors must be manned 24/7.”
One contested point was school marshals, or armed an armed employee on campus. At the end of the meeting, the committee recommended the district research the implementation of the school marshal program—a process that could take up to a year.
“We’ve talked about this in a couple board meetings, and I think the committee’s recommendation is similar to what our conversations have been, is this is not an easy step. There is a lot of thought that has to go into this. If we were to do this, it would be a six or a 12-month process,” Trustee Tony Hopkins said.
The marshal would be an employee at Friendswood ISD and would volunteer for the position, as well as train with Friendswood Police Department. The appointment would not include someone whose primary job description is working with elementary level students and the appointment would have to be confidential.
“You look at the comments on the survey, you have everything from ‘Arm them today’ to ‘I’ll pull my kid out of Friendswood ISD…’ but you have to pull that all together and that takes time,” Superintendent Thad Roher said.
The committee, made up of school officials, teachers, parents and students, will also share its findings through a Mustang Voices town hall meeting at 6:30 on July 26 at 402 Laurel Drive, Friendswood.
Community Impact Newspaper will have a comprehensive report on school safety in its August edition.