Over the summer, Splendora ISD administrators have been reviewing all aspects of school safety. In fact, one of the District’s core principles is to “ensure a safe, physical, emotional, and social environment.”
In May 2018, the District hired Police Chief Rex Evans, who is addressing the District’s facility and operational needs. Additionally, the District is continuing to invest in Capturing Kids’ Hearts training for teachers and students to strengthen relationships and address the emotional and social needs of our students.
Since the beginning of June, Chief Evans has sworn in four new officers, attended and led numerous training events, and obtained over $74,000 in equipment for his officers and the schools. He and Sgt. Haver and Officers Kampf, Minchew, and Mosley have attended training for Reports and Booking procedures, hosted an Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) class, and will perform a full-scale Active Shooter exercise at the high school on July 25.
This exercise will include Splendora ISD officers, City of Splendora officers, Patton Village officers, Precinct 4 constables, Texas Department of Public Safety officers, and members of the Texas Rangers.
Numerous agencies also helped Chief Evans with some valuable and much-needed equipment. The Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC) donated $43,986 for a new police car and handheld radios for each officer.
Multi-County Crime Stoppers came up with $16,000 for the classroom door devices called Bearacades and seven body-worn cameras for each officer. Law Enforcement Agencies from the area came up with eight taser devices and reversible/reflective all-weather police coats. Not only is the district equipping officers and adding new door devices, but other purchases are on order to add numerous layers of safety. New keyless door locks, metal detector wands, and updated security cameras will be added.
Superintendent Dr. Jeff Burke wants to address the social and emotional needs of the District, too.
“I feel the best way to strengthen schools is to build positive relationships and ensure that each student is engaged and involved in school,” said Burke.
At the beginning of August, teachers from Greenleaf, Peach Creek, and Piney Woods Elementary Schools and Splendora High School will go through the Capturing Kids’ Hearts process that Splendora Junior High teachers experienced last year. This process will help strengthen teachers and students’ connection by enhancing healthy bonds and establishing collaborative agreements of acceptable behavior.
In addition to Capturing Kids’ Hearts, students and staff of all three elementary schools will participate in Rachel’s Challenge . This will include the creation of Kindness and Compassion Clubs on each campus and the implementation of a two-year curriculum that will be delivered in all elementary classrooms. These lessons will focus on building connections between students and staff and strengthen kindness, empathy, and understanding. Counselors on each campus will coordinate these lessons and facilitate the Kindness and Compassion Clubs.
Students in junior high and high school will continue to participate in Rachel’s Challenge activities by attending Chain Reaction Programs that are designed to forge bonds and relationships between participants and increase the awareness of individuality and personal strength. Splendora ISD counselors at the elementary schools and the junior high will also work with staff from Tri-County Prevention Services to facilitate presentations and group activities that cover substance abuse prevention, positive relationship building, goal setting, and peer pressure. The focus of the Splendora ISD counselors is the social and emotional well being of our students.
The 2018-2019 school year will have stricter safety measures, including: required identification badges for staff and students at the secondary levels, backpack searches with reasonable suspicion, heightened and more frequent training, and additional emergency notification and response measures. By fortifying its schools, preparing its staff and students, and building relationships, Splendora ISD is creating a safe, physical, emotional, and social environment.
“The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority, and we will continue to be vigilant to ensure that we are as prepared as we can possibly be for any emergency we may encounter,” added Burke.