A year after Uvalde shooting; local school districts continue to ensure school safety

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 5:16 PM CDT
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - For the past couple of months, KGNS has reached out to four school districts in Laredo, Webb and Zapata County to find out what security measures are in place, as well as what has changed since the Uvalde tragedy.

While school safety is nothing new to the school districts, they say they are always looking at new measures to protect their respective students.

Just 130 miles north of Laredo sits the community of Uvalde, which is where one of the deadliest school shootings took place on May 24, 2022.

For over a year now, school districts across Texas and the country have been looking into their own security measures to keep students and staff safe in hopes of preventing another mass shooting from happening.

Here in south Texas, United, Laredo, Webb Consolidated and Zapata County ISD had some security measures in place even before the Uvalde shooting happened.

“We had a number of officers for many, many years. I’ve seen legislation that requires armed officers at every campus, we’ve been doing that for the past decade or more,” said UISD Associate Superintendent Mike Garza.

“We’ve had police officers a little over 40 of our officers, we have also begun the process of procuring metal detectors, we would be doing some metal detectors sweeps and screenings,” said LISD School Safety Director Oscar Perez.

“What we do every day in terms of checking our doors and doing those exterior door audits, is very critical activity that it may see as significant at the time, but it is a very critical step that we have to take,” said Zapata CISD Superintendent Roberta Trevino.

“Here at the district we have armed police officers, we had two at the time and they would patrol 3 campuses,” said Webb Consolidated ISD Superintendent Jimmy Padilla.

With over hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on school safety protocols, from 2022 up until now, all four school districts have placed metal detectors at their front doors, hired more armed police officers, purchased more communication equipment, implemented check-in procedures, install more security cameras and performed safety drills.

Meanwhile, some districts such as UISD and LISD have chosen the Sames Auto Arena as a safe venue where parents will be able to pick up their child in case of an emergency.

However, school districts like Zapata and Webb C.I.S.D. said it’s a challenge to keep up with current school security measures.

“The state is demanding lots of initiatives without the funding to back it, so much of the things that we are having to do are locally with the promise that we will re-imburse at some point in time that we have received for example a 100,000k from the state but we had to incur 3000k worth of expenses,” said Trevino.

“We do have migrants coming in through here, we had drug busts that have been here as well, not in the campus per say, but within our area we always have to be on standby,” said Padilla.

While the district continues to provide more safety for its students, they say there is still more room for improvement, so parents can have peace of mind when dropping off their kids at school.

“We are also looking into a program that will allow students to have some kind of ID, some kind of a device that will identify them entering the bus and exiting the bus,” said Garza.

“We are already working with a vendor, on making sure that hopefully in the summer, we can get the vendor to replace all three-end window film, which is not a bulletproof film, I want to make that very clear, but what it does, it delays the entry of anyone trying to do harm,” said Perez.

“We are in the midst of constructing a new alternative campus and that is an alternative campus-slash-wellness center, and we will be having pillar provide services at this location, so they will have a dedicated set of offices where they will be providing services for students and their families,” said Trevino.

“Upgrading our facilities to meet the needs, make sure we have access points, single access points into our campuses where people can come in through a certain way and nobody else can come into a different way,” said Padilla.

Below is the original story:

The impact of the Uvalde tragedy is still felt one year later.

For the past couple of months, Laredo-area school districts have heightened security procedures and protocols to prevent any potential incidents from happening.

As schools prepare for the final weeks of schools, both superintendents and two administrators in charge of security say they have implemented additional security since the tragic Uvalde shooting at Robb Elementary.

While the shooting was a wake-up call for many, some school districts had already taken these measures before the shooting.

UISD, LISD, Webb Consolidated ISD and Zapata all spoke out about how they are doing their part to keep their respective students safe.

With over 40,000 students, UISD said they have armed police officers at certain campuses for their students protection.

Meanwhile, LISD said they are starting to set up more metal detectors at their campuses.

Zapata ISD said they were assessing the locks on their doors; meanwhile, Webb CISD is in the process of hiring more security officers at its campuses.

All four school districts say they are continuing to hold emergency drills to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Each district said they are also staying up to date with the latest technology to ensure extra vigilance.

Coming up in our later newscast, we hear more from the districts on other policies they have in place.

For more headlines. click here.