As the gun conversation heats up after last week’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, families at Brenham ISD want to know what additional steps the district will take to protect their students.
Brenham ISD says it is implementing new safety initiatives such as updating radio communications throughout the district, expanding its anonymous reporting system to include two-way communication in the event of an emergency, increased use of drugged dogs to detect contraband and improved perimeter security on campuses. Some, however, question whether the district will increase the presence of officers on all campuses or allow licensed employees to carry handguns on school grounds.
John Deans, a local gun rights advocate and owner of Deans Defensive Shooting, says there are hundreds of school districts in Texas that allow school staff to be armed, and thinks Brenham ISD should do likewise or place a full-time officer at each primary. Campus.
The Deans proposed in 2013 to implement the Brenham Angel Guardian program at Brenham ISD to allow staff members to carry handguns. However, the plan was rejected by the school board 5-2, with opponents saying it would be too dangerous to arm school staff. Instead, the board opted to earmark funds to hire off-duty police officers for campuses without School Resource Officers (SROs). Meanwhile, the Guardian program has been implemented in recent years in area school districts like Burton, Round Top-Carmine and Fayetteville.
According to Brenham ISD communications specialist Brooke Trahan, the district met with the Brenham Police Department in July 2021 and decided to add a fourth full-time SRO instead of contracting off-duty officers. Trahan said the decision was made “to provide more consistent campus coverage” because furloughed officers weren’t always available due to scheduling conflicts or staffing shortages. SROs are assigned to high school and middle school as the base campus, rotating through the other campuses in different increments.
Currently, the district employs security procedures that include visitor management, anonymous reporting of threats and intimidation, monitoring of internet usage, and annual security training for staff. Brenham ISD’s School Safe and Supportive Team, which consists of school administrators, trustees, members of local public safety agencies, teachers and parents, meets regularly to review safety initiatives and determine district security needs. District managers also meet with external stakeholders to review and update emergency operations plans.
Staff will be able to train this summer with local public safety agencies as part of critical incident school safety training. The district also recently increased its event security budget, allowing security coverage at all sporting events and other extracurricular activities like school dances and tailgates.
Whatever initiatives the district pursues, the deans hope to maximize the possible protection for students and teachers.
Brenham School Board President Natalie Lange said trustees have not met since the Uvalde shooting but plan to do so next week to discuss current safety measures and what will be changed for next year and beyond.