2018-19 Safety Measures
This summer, Texas City ISD investigated a multitude of options to improve and enhance safety and security in the district.
“We are off to a good start but there is so much more that we’ll implement later,” said Mike Matranga who has been employed as the executive director for safety and school safety in TCISD for the last 6 weeks. “We have to be prepared now for what we would do if we had an active shooter on campus. At the same time, we’ll be putting things in place to eliminate potential risks.”
There are some things that will be behind the scenes that people won’t see or realize the district is doing. Other things will be very visible.
The TCISD Board of Trustees approved the hiring of an additional 8 deputies through the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office bringing the total to 19 school liaison officers. Each campus, including elementary schools, will have at least one deputy. Also, for the first time ever, TCISD will have their own K-9 unit. “Our dog will be highly trained to alert on drugs. This dog will work daily in our schools and will also be present at extracurricular events that the public attends like football games,” Matranga said.
Texas City ISD will become a federally recognized emergency responding agency through FirstNet/AT&T. When emergency situations take place, many phone lines get jammed with an influx of calls. This system would give our deputies and administrators the ability to have communication priority on a nationwide public safety broadband network. The Texas City Police Department and the City of Texas City will also begin using FirstNet.
Should a man-made or natural disaster strike, TCISD will use Mutualink and BearCom to share information and optimize response time. “We can do so much with this program,” said Matranga. “It integrates with our existing camera systems and will work with emergency responders, hospitals and school personnel even if they have different devices and networks.”
BearCom and FirstNet/AT&T will provide the indestructible equipment our staff will use to run the Mutualink software that connects with law enforcement more quickly. “Our Galveston County Sheriff’s deputies will be the first on scene. Besides the panic button that will sync to 911 immediately, this program will provide other first responders and administrators with real time video and audio as an event is taking place,” said Matranga. “That information is invaluable to those who are on their way to help.”
The board also approved an RFID system that will monitor students and staff in buildings and buses. “There have been school districts that have received push back in the past from parents about school personnel being able to track their children,” said Matranga. “But the location data this system provides is crucial if there is a problem like a medical emergency, fight or worse.” The system can also be used in non-emergency situations like being able to generate attendance reports.
When all staff members return in August, professional development will have a strong focus on security. All staff will go through threat assessment training. Administrators had the training in April. The training will help all staff learn how to identify, investigate and evaluate threats. “This was the best training I have ever been to in my professional career,” said Dr. Rodney Cavness, superintendent of schools. “After every school shooting, there are people who say they knew it was going to happen. The signs were there from interactions with friends or social media messages. This training will give us all the tools we need so that we can appropriately assess a threat and get the help a student needs before they do something violent to themselves or others,” he said. All staff members will also receive Stop the Bleed training to know how to help in a bleeding emergency before professionals arrive.
Other things that will be implemented this school year include: mental health reporting, bullet proof glass reception areas, social media monitoring, infrastructure security improvements (ex. doors, windows, locks), upgraded camera systems, and student/parent safety committees. Other safety measures TCISD is continuing with include the free smartphone anonymous reporting app called P3 Campus. Students, parents and anyone in the school community should download and use it to report safety concerns. https://www.p3campus.com/index.htm In addition, TCISD will conduct its second joint active shooter training at La Marque High School on August 7 with Texas City and La Marque police, fire and emergency management. The first one was held in March at Texas City High School.
“We hope that our parents and community will feel more comfortable knowing that we are working hard daily for TCISD to have some of the best-protected students and staff in the United States,” said Cavness.
Students and parents need to know that TCISD will be very strict on ID and dress code enforcement. “We need parents to reiterate at home the importance of following the school rules for not only their personal safety but for the safety of every person on campus” Cavness said.
It is the goal of TCISD to provide a safe environment in which all students can reach their highest potential. However, there are situations that occur in all areas of life which infect the environment and cause students to be distracted. These things can happen in the school, home and social situations.
At TCISD we are concerned with all areas of our students’ education and social/ emotional well-being. That is why we have provided some informational links that we feel would help students, parents and teachers to make safe choices.
Dear Texas City ISD Parents & Staff,
We know that Friday’s tragic event at Santa Fe High School may have you feeling anxious and uncertain about school safety. We want kids to feel safe and secure at school and we know that at this point, many of them may not. I want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to keep our schools safe. This letter is to remind you of safety measures already in place.
Following the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, I directed our staff to review campus emergency operations plans and ensure each employee understands his or her role in the event of a school emergency. Staff members undergo regular training throughout the school year. Local law enforcement agencies also have conducted onsite active shooter training in the District over Spring Break and more training is planned for June.
Besides knowing what to do should an active shooter come into our facilities, Texas City ISD is working on continued training in threat assessment. This past March, central office administrators, campus principals and a counselor from each of our schools were trained in threat assessment from Sigma Threat Management Associates. We were trained how to build and operate threat assessment teams and programs, helping us develop our own ability to assess and manage threatening situations in accordance with best practices. Our educators learned how to use best practice for preventing school violence, conducting threat assessment inquiries, developing case management plans and gaining practice working through threat scenarios. We believe that this is an important piece in preventing school violence. Every employee is going through training on May 31. Additional training will be conducted with staff in August before school starts.
Texas City ISD contracts with the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office for security. They are highly trained law enforcement deputies and know our schools inside and out and they know our kids. They, along with hall monitors, make sure that all doors are locked and report any suspicious activity.
In light of the Santa Fe High School shooting, we will be bringing in additional deputies through the last day of school, May 30, 2018. The Texas City Police Department and La Marque Police Department also are great partners and are always willing to increase patrols and presence at our schools. I am thankful for their partnership and support.
In addition, we went through a safety audit in the fall and we are using those findings to enhance and improve our facilities for safety with school bond money. Our goal is to make our buildings very difficult to breach.
Parents, we need your assistance.
Bags and Backpacks
If your child does not have to bring a backpack, gym bag, or purse to school, please keep these items at home. If they do need to bring a bag to school, check the bag for prohibited items. Effective Monday, bags may be subject to search under heightened security measures.
Social Media Monitoring
As adults, we know children gravitate to social media as a means of communication and collaboration. We also know this is a place where threats, credible or not, are created and shared quickly. Please monitor your child’s social media account and remind them to always be respectful online. In the event they see a post that is suspicious or threatening, tell them not to share it but rather report it immediately to you or a trusted adult.
All threats will be investigated by law enforcement and criminal charges will be pursued when appropriate. Making a terroristic threat involving a school is a felony offense, as is possessing certain unlawful weapons, including firearms, on school premises.
See Something, Say Something
Whether it is a post on social media or suspicious behavior, please say something. Here are ways to report anonymous tips. The most powerful weapon in the effort to improve school safety is for our students and families to partner with the schools.
Call: 409-916-0TIP (409-916-0847)
Smart Phone App: Download P3 Campus for 24/7 anonymous reporting.
and a 24/7 anonymous reporting smart phone free app called P3 Campus. Please contact us if you suspect any unsafe condition that could impact one of our schools. The trusting relationships we form with our students pay huge dividends when it comes to their success in school and beyond, and this is also true in school safety.
Rules about IDs, Dress Code and Doors
Parents, we have rules in place to help with safety. Some of those include wearing visible IDs, not wearing oversized clothing, and not opening side doors even for other students. We need students to comply and take control of their own safety and the safety of everyone on their campus. We need to remind your children that those rules that they may not like are in place to keep them safe.
I realize we are living in uncertain times, and our children are looking to you and me for comfort and reassurance. I want you to know that we don't just work on school safety after a tragic event happens. School safety is something we focus on each and every day. We need you to work with us because it takes all of us working together for safe schools and a safe community. Thank you for your continued support of the Texas City Independent School District and please keep Santa Fe ISD in your prayers.
Rodney Cavness, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Dear Texas City ISD Parents & Guardians,
Like you, we want Texas City ISD schools to be safe. We understand that a student who does not feel safe cannot learn.
Since the tragedy in Florida, as part of our ongoing commitment to keeping our students safe, there have been many conversations about school safety. We want to assure you that providing safe learning and work environments for all students and staff is paramount to our collective efforts. There is always a balance to be drawn between increased security and creating a welcome atmosphere for students, parents and the community. Texas City ISD employs a number of safety measures in a layered effort to prevent similar types of incidents. Some of these efforts include having Galveston County Sheriff’s Office deputies on campuses throughout the day, intruderology training for students and staff members, cameras on campuses, and vetting visitors prior to accessing campuses.
The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas City and La Marque police departments are excellent partners for us related to campus safety. These officers and deputies have conducted and will continue to conduct active shooter training in our buildings when students are absent. We meet regularly to discuss and plan for issues related to school and community safety.
In the last bond election, TCISD patrons approved bond propositions that improved entrances and interior door locks. In the fall, TCISD conducted a safety and security review. Recommendations for improvements to all schools total $6.5 million. Funding for that is included in the bond proposal going before voters on May 5, 2018.
In spite of all of this technology, facility upgrades and training, the most powerful weapon in the effort to improve school safety is for our students and families to partner with the schools. We rely on each of you to share information with us that you deem troubling so that we can investigate. Our deputies man 409-916-0TIP (409-916-0847), email@example.com, and a 24/7 anonymous reporting smart phone free app called P3 Campus. Please contact us if you suspect any unsafe condition that could impact one of our schools. The trusting relationships we form with our students pay huge dividends when it comes to their success in school and beyond, and this is also true in school safety.
I know that there is a lot of fear and uncertainty in recent weeks.Almost daily, another school district is in the headlines for threats that are being made on their campus. I want you to know that we take all threats seriously. Making a terroristic threat, even if it was “only a joke” is a felony and will result in an arrest. Parents, we need your help in educating your children about the seriousness of this issue.
Let’s all work together for the safety and comfort of all students in Texas City ISD.
Rodney Cavness, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Bullying is aggressive behavior that can be physical, verbal, or emotional. It can involve teasing, name-calling, pushing, hitting or subtle behaviors such as intentionally ignoring or excluding someone or spreading nasty rumors. Bullying is intended to cause distress or harm and exists where there is a real or perceived imbalance of power. Report Bullying.
The key to helping kids is providing strategies that deal with bullying on an everyday basis and also help restore their self-esteem and regain a sense of dignity.
It may be tempting to tell a kid to fight back. After all, you're angry that your child is suffering and maybe you were told to "stand up for yourself" when you were young. And you may worry that your child will continue to suffer at the hands of the bully. But it's important to advise kids not to respond to bullying by fighting or bullying back. It can quickly escalate into violence, trouble, and someone getting injured. Instead, it's best to walk away from the situation, hang out with others, and tell an adult.
Here are some other strategies to discuss with kids that can help improve the situation and make them feel better:
- Avoid the bully and use the buddy system. Use a different bathroom if a bully is nearby and don't go to your locker when there is nobody around. Make sure you have someone with you so that you're not alone with the bully. Buddy up with a friend on the bus, in the hallways, or at recess — wherever the bully is. Offer to do the same for a friend.
- Hold the anger. It's natural to get upset by the bully, but that's what bullies thrive on. It makes them feel more powerful. Practice not reacting by crying or looking red or upset. It takes a lot of practice, but it's a useful skill for keeping off of a bully's radar. Sometimes kids find it useful to practice "cool down" strategies such as counting to 10, writing down their angry words, taking deep breaths or walking away. Sometimes the best thing to do is to teach kids to wear a "poker face" until they are clear of any danger (smiling or laughing may provoke the bully).
- Act brave, walk away, and ignore the bully. Firmly and clearly tell the bully to stop, then walk away. Practice ways to ignore the hurtful remarks, like acting uninterested or texting someone on your cell phone. By ignoring the bully, you're showing that you don't care. Eventually, the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you.
- Tell an adult. Teachers, principals, parents, and lunchroom personnel at school can all help stop bullying.
- Talk about it. Talk to someone you trust, such as your school counselor, teacher, sibling, or friend. They may offer some helpful suggestions, and even if they can't fix the situation, it may help you feel a little less alone.
- Remove the incentives. If the bully is demanding your lunch money, start bringing your lunch. If he's trying to get your music player, don't bring it to school
Unless your child tells you about bullying — or has visible bruises or injuries — it can be difficult to figure out if it's happening.
But there are some warning signs. You might notice your child acting differently or seeming anxious, or not eating, sleeping well, or doing the things that he or she usually enjoys. When kids seem moodier or more easily upset than usual, or when they start avoiding certain situations, like taking the bus to school, it may be because of a bully.
If you suspect bullying but your child is reluctant to open up, find opportunities to bring up the issue in a more roundabout way. For instance, you might see a situation on a TV show and use it as a conversation starter, asking "What do you think of this?" or "What do you think that person should have done?" This might lead to questions like: "Have you ever seen this happen?" or "Have you ever experienced this?" You might want to talk about any experiences you or another family member had at that age.
Let your child know that if he or she is being bullied — or sees it happening to someone else — it's important to talk to someone about it, whether it's you, another adult (a teacher, school counselor, or family friend), or a sibling.
If your child tells you about a bully, focus on offering comfort and support, no matter how upset you are. Kids are often reluctant to tell adults about bullying. They feel embarrassed and ashamed that it's happening. They worry that their parents will be disappointed.
Sometimes kids feel like it's their own fault, that if they looked or acted differently it wouldn't be happening. Sometimes they're scared that if the bully finds out that they told, it will get worse. Others are worried that their parents won't believe them or do anything about it. Or kids worry that their parents will urge them to fight back when they're scared to.
Praise your child for being brave enough to talk about it. Remind your child that he or she isn't alone — a lot of people get bullied at some point. Emphasize that it's the bully who is behaving badly — not your child. Reassure your child that you will figure out what to do about it together.
Sometimes an older sibling or friend can help deal with the situation. It may help your daughter to hear how the older sister she idolizes was teased about her braces and how she dealt with it. An older sibling or friend may also be able to give you some perspective on what's happening at school, or wherever the bullying is happening, and help you figure out the best solution.
Take it seriously if you hear that the bullying will get worse if the bully finds out that your child told. You may want to talk to the bully's parents. Teachers or counselors are probably the best ones to contact first. If you've tried those methods and still want to speak to the bullying child's parents, it's best to do so in a context where a school official, such as a counselor, can mediate.
One in five teenagers has experienced violence in a dating relationship and one in three girls who have been in a serious relationship say they've been concerned about being physically hurt by their partner.
Dating abuse isn't an argument every once in a while, or a bad mood after a bad day. Dating abuse (or relationship abuse) is a pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or boyfriend.
If you are in a relationship, ask yourself "Does my boyfriend or girlfriend………."
- Call or page me frequently to find out where I am, who I’m with, or what I’m doing?
- Tell me what to wear?
- Have to be with me all the time?
- Call me names, insult me, or criticize me?
- Act jealous, possessive, controlling, or bossy?
- Give me orders or make all the decisions?
- Get angry very quickly, or fight a lot?
- Threaten to hurt me or someone in my family if I don’t do what they want?
- Threaten to hurt themselves if I don’t do what they want?
- Follow me or track where I go?
- Show up repeatedly at my home or work uninvited?
- Check up on me all the time?
- Refuse to allow me normal contact with my family and friends?
- Shove, punch, slap, pinch, kick, or hit me? Pull my hair? Strangle or choke me?
- Touch or kiss me when I don’t want to? Force me to have sex? Not let me use birth control?
- Use alcohol or drugs and pressure me to do it too?
- Refuse to accept that the relationship isn’t working or is over?
I have the right to refuse a date without feeling guilty.
I can ask for a date without feeling rejected or inadequate if the answer is no.
I do not have to act macho.
I may choose not to act seductively.
If I don’t want physical closeness, I have the right to say so.
I have the right to start a relationship slowly, to say,
"I want to know you better before I become involved.”
I have the right to be myself without changing to suit others.
I have the right to change a relationship when my feelings change. I can say, “We used to be close, but I want something else now.”
If I am told a relationship is changing, I have the right not to blame or change myself to keep it going.
I have the right to an equal relationship with my partner.
I have the right not to dominate or to be dominated.
I have the right to act one way with one person and a different way with someone else.
I have the right to change my goals whenever I want to.
Crime Prevention Council, 1700 K Street, NW, Second Floor, Washington, DC 20006.
Cyberbullying is the use of e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, pagers, cell phones, or other forms of information technology to deliberately harass, threaten, or intimidate someone. Cyberbullying can include such acts as making threats, sending insults, attempting to infect the victim's computer with a virus, and flooding an e-mail inbox with nonsense messages. If you are a victim, you can deal with cyberbullying to some extent by limiting computer connection time (not being always on), not responding to threatening or defamatory messages, and never opening e-mail messages from sources you do not recognize. If you are cyberbullied or harassed and need help, save all communication with the cyberbully and talk to a parent, teacher, law enforcement officer, or other adult you trust. Report Bullying.
- Never post or share your personal information online (this includes your full name, address, telephone number, school name, parents’ names, credit card number, or Social Security number) or your friends’ personal information.
- Never share your Internet passwords with anyone, except your parents.
- Never meet anyone face-to-face whom you only know online.