HARLINGEN — A kind of vertigo is sweeping over a society following such monstrosities as that of Uvalde last month.
It is unimaginable that someone could come in and shoot small children, but this unimaginable has become a gruesome reality that people will take time to understand.
And in all this madness, people are looking for the strength of the able and the good. They are looking for tangible answers, things they can touch, see and hear that provide rhythm and coherence to the broken glass around them, a way to heal the fracture.
The Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District’s facilities and safety committee meeting on June 7 revealed some of those responses. The meeting brought together the Harlingen School Board, school administrators and representatives from the Harlingen Police Department.
Danny Castillo, director of emergency management and school safety for the Harlingen School District, emphasized as he has repeatedly recently that true school safety must be made up of many parts, or “layers.”
One of the things he talked about was the “standard response protocol”.
“It’s something I’m sure you know at this point,” he said. “This is one of the best practices recommended by the Texas School Safety Center.”
The Texas School Safety Center describes its K-12 Standard Response Protocol as a toolkit that offers guidance and resources for incorporating SRP into a school safety plan for critical incident response at individual schools in a district. school.
It’s just a layer. There is a lot of.
“The district has been and continues to evaluate and add camera surveillance systems to all of our campuses,” he said in a recent interview.
“One of the main things we’ve done across the district is we’ve made sure to upgrade and modernize all of our classroom doors to make sure they’re all self-locking,” said he explained.
Self-locking means exactly that. No one has to do anything other than just close the door and it locks itself.
“The locking mechanism itself, you can set them up so they lock the moment the door is closed,” Castillo said. “It sounds very simple, but it’s one of the key things that has been learned nationally as being one of the most important safety considerations that any district can incorporate.”
Raptor Technologies’ visitor management system, which the district has had in place for several years, is also in place.
“Every visitor that visits one of our campuses is vetted through this visitor management system,” Castillo said. “It’s basically scanned against the DPS’s sex offender registry to make sure everyone we allow in are appropriate visitors.”
Visitors approaching a campus will find locked doors and a control box with a button. They press that button, face a camera where someone inside can see their face, and they identify themselves and their reason for being there.
“There needs to be a more specific inspection of the identification that matches the visitor,” Castillo said. “Then this information is scanned through the visitor management system. On some of our campuses you will have the camera system on this control box which is outside the secure area. They can show their ID to this camera and they can do it that way. »
There was a recent upgrade to the system so that visitors no longer necessarily need their physical identification to complete a scan, he said.
“They just need to have that person’s identifiers which can be verified by visually inspecting that information, either through the video system or if it’s through a passenger window.”
Raptor will soon play a bigger role in the safety of the school in Harlingen. Castillo said the district has already implemented the Raptor drill management system and will implement the Raptor alert system this fall.