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Frisco ISD Continues to Make School Security Improvements

Mar 04, 2019

Smith Elementary Piloted Use of the New Entry Monitoring SystemVisitors to Elementary Campuses Will Soon Have to Press a Button for Validation Before Entering BuildingFront Office Staff See Visitors on Their Computer Screen

Frisco ISD is making some noticeable and behind-the-scenes changes to enhance school security and emergency preparedness.

The most visible improvement is a video-based entry monitoring system, which will be installed at all elementary campuses by the end of the summer.

The new system, similar to a Ring doorbell device used in residential homes, will require visitors to press a button and wait for an attendant to respond when approaching the main exterior door. The attendant will then visually verify the identity of the visitor and the purpose of the visit.

“The idea is to further protect students and staff by restricting unnecessary access to our schools during normal school hours,” said Kevin Haller, Frisco ISD director of security.

Once the visitor has been validated (either by way of simple recognition or by having the visitor provide a valid driver’s license or U.S. passport presented directly to the camera), the attendant will buzz the visitor into the secure interior entry vestibule. The visitor will then proceed to the reception desk to receive a visitor badge.

The feature, which may also be added at middle and high schools, is one of several new security enhancements at Frisco ISD schools.

Thanks to voter approval of the 2018 bond program, the District has also installed emergency lockdown technology at all campuses. The system can be used to electronically lock doors, notify authorities of an emergency and initiate and communicate various responses from staff and students based on the nature of an emergency. Standardized processes and terminologies based on the Standard Response Protocol (SRP) provide a common operating picture and streamline the way each campus prepares for and responds to an incident.

In addition, the 2018 bond program provides funding to install bullet-resistant glass on interior classroom door windows and sidelights. A timeline for retrofitting existing glass at all school buildings is still being determined.

Funds are also set aside through the bond program to add and replace security cameras, servers and fiber.

Other security and emergency preparedness initiatives have been funded through the District’s operating budget.

  • Frisco ISD rolled out STOPit, an anonymous reporting tool for bullying and other school safety concerns, at the beginning of the school year. Districtwide, staff receive and investigate an average of five reports per day from students and parents.

  • The 2018-19 budget provided funding for dozens of new positions to relieve school counselors of duties unrelated to counseling, giving them more time to support students’ social, emotional and mental health needs. FISD also hired more student assistance coordinators and put new processes in place for referring students in crisis for intervention, support and treatment.  

  • The budget also included the addition of an emergency management compliance manager to coordinate planning, response and recovery for emergencies and disasters. This has enabled the District to offer a number of new trainings for school administrators and staff, including scenario-based exercises.

  • The District partnered with the Frisco Police Department to offer active threat training to all employees this school year. The hands-on, scenario-based training provided staff members with several options for responding to a threat, which will better prepare them to protect themselves and others in actual incident. Watch news coverage from WFAA Channel 8 News.

  • Frisco ISD began using dogs that can detect ammunition and explosives this school year. The dogs have been making random visits to schools and can also be utilized for special events or to aid in an investigation as needed. The District has continued to utilize drug detection dogs as well.

Frisco ISD also prides itself in an innovative partnership with the City of Frisco called Situational Awareness for Emergency Response or S.A.F.E.R. The S.A.F.E.R. system gives police, firefighters and emergency responders live access to cameras inside and outside all Frisco ISD schools, including those in Plano, McKinney and Little Elm.

Should an emergency occur, first responders have immediate access to campus floor plans, photos, contact information and much more from inside their squad cars, fire trucks and ambulances. This knowledge would be critical in an actual emergency, giving personnel the ability to plan and prepare in real time, identify the best way to address the situation and minimize any damage.

“We look at school security in a truly comprehensive way, recognizing that there isn’t any one thing that could prevent something bad from happening,” Haller said. “What we can do and what we continuously do, is look for ways to enhance what we’re doing and adopt practices proven effective in reducing risk.”

See a list of security measures in place at Frisco ISD schools.

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