Security: Governor's plan

In May 2018, Governor Gregg Abbott released an action plan to help schools improve the safety and security of their students. The report outlined several strategies to enhance security. Listed below is how Garland ISD is meeting and exceeding the safety standards across the state.

Looking for more information on how we are keeping students safe? See our Safety & security page.

Expand Crime Stoppers programs

Practice Summary: Garland ISD uses a variety of reporting tools.

Additional info: In addition to Crime Stoppers, which is used in the city of Garland, tip-lines are used in Rowlett and Sachse. Our District also uses the Anonymous Alerts App, allowing all students, staff, parents, and community members to report tips. Simply download the app and enter the activation code: garlandisd.

Hardening of campus facilities

Practice Summary: Through the 2002 and 2014 bond programs, significant infrastructure upgrades have been made in all GISD schools.

Additional info: The hardening of campus facilities was accelerated through the 2002 and 2014 bond programs. In this time, Garland ISD improved the hardening of facilities through new and upgraded features, to include: 

  • nearly 3,500 cameras

  • secured vestibules in every school

  • “open door” contact alarms for all exterior doors

  • over 900 access controlled doors

  • some 3,700 motion and intrusion alarms

  • a telephone in every classroom

  • remotely accessible public address systems, with interior and exterior coverage

  • emergency buttons (to place the school into Lockdown through PA announcements and to notify first responders)

  • upgraded fire control systems

  •  the use of metal detection for random classroom searches

Provide Threat Assessment programs

Practice Summary: GISD’s threat assessment program is designed to be restorative in nature, instead of being punitive.

Additional info: The Garland ISD Threat Assessment Program initiatives provide all campus staff the ability to take action in the presence of a potential threat or act of violence. The program consists of two teams: the campus screening team and the district-level CARE (Comprehensive Assessment Response Evaluation) team. Both teams review potential threats and determine the appropriate response for each report. The campus screening team’s goals are to identify the student whose behavior has raised concern, investigate the concern, and assess the situation and information discovered. If this team substantiates the threat, the report is given to the CARE team. The CARE team manages the threat by implementing an intervention, or monitoring plan, designed to prevent acts of violence and mitigate the impact of the situation on the student. The ultimate aim is to safeguard all students and to provide specialized aid to any student identified in this process, as needed.

Increase law enforcement presence at schools

Practice Summary: GISD enjoys a robust relationship with our tri-city police and fire first responders.

Additional info: From the tri-city police agencies, our district contracts for the use of 47 police officers, who serve our 72 schools as School Resource Officers. The primary responsibilities of these officers is three-fold: teacher, counselor, and law enforcement officer, all while seeking to serve as a mentor to our 55,000+ students. We also enjoy a tremendous relationship with our tri-city fire departments. These professionals not only respond to fire alarms and medical needs, but they also mentor and teach students by daily interaction and instruction. Both our police and fire departments collaborate with our GISD Security Department.

Emergency Response Training

Practice Summary: Our district engages in a very active training program designed to prepare students and staff to effectively respond in any number of situations.

Additional info: Not only has GISD used the “I Love U Guys” Foundation's Standard Response Protocol/Standard Reunification Method since 2015, but we’ve also brought the founder of this foundation, John-Michael Keyes and his team, to Garland ISD for the rollout of this program. Borne of tragedy, John-Michael and his family have dedicated themselves to honoring the memory of their daughter, Emily, who lost her life to school violence, through this foundation and the Standard Response Protocol. Learn more about the protocol on the “I Love U Guys” Foundation website.

Hire retired peace officers and military veterans

Practice Summary: The security team is comprised of 50% retired or reserve peace officers and/or military veterans.

Additional info: In all security department job descriptions and open position job postings, special consideration is given to applicants with law enforcement credentials and/or who are military veterans. We are proud to announce that as of this writing, 50% of our department is comprised of these professionals. As well, some 35% of our team has 10 or more years of service in our district.

Safety & Security Committee

Practice Summary: The committee is comprised of a variety of district and community members, including emergency first responders and school board members.

Additional info: The goal of the committee is to ensure staff and students are prepared to respond to a multiplicity of emergency threats and that security infrastructure is designed to mitigate threats associated with the potential of harm. This committee meets at least twice during the school year to:

  •  review the schedule for emergency drills and exercises

  •  to consider possible new security initiatives

  •  to ensure security audits are conducted in compliance with the law

  •  and to oversee a variety of areas that impact the daily lives of our students (e.g., our anti-bullying program)

Committee membership includes members of the district’s Board of Trustees, the Superintendent of Schools, representatives from the tri-city first responders and emergency operations centers, community members, parents, teachers, support staff, and the Region 10 Educational Service Center.

Active Shooter Training

Practice Summary: Garland, Rowlett, and Sachse Police Departments engage in annual training; district personnel participate.

Additional info: On at least an annual basis, each of our tri-city police agencies conducts multiple training events, including active shooter training. The goal of the training is to simulate the steps taken in a real event, such that lives are saved. In many training events, district team members participate with our emergency first responders.

FEMA Certification

Practice Summary: 100% of the GISD security team has successfully completed FEMA certification.

Additional info: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides online and classroom training for a number of those involved in emergency management. In our District, all security officers are required to take ISC 100: Introduction to the Incident Command Structure. This course provides an overview of the Incident Command System used by emergency first responders, to include members of our security department.

Numbered exterior doors

Practice Summary: In collaboration with emergency first responders, all exterior doors have been numbered.

Additional info: Emergency first responders are better prepared to more effectively respond to an emergency when they have an accurate location of the incident. This is aided by exterior door numbering that was collaborated upon with our police and fire responders.

Bleed control kits

Practice Summary: Every school has or is in the process of receiving these kits. Training on how to use the kits is being provided for all staff.

Additional info: The goal of the program is to save lives. With these kits strategically located in our buildings, and with staff members trained to effectively administer them to the injured, the opportunity to aid emergency first responders, such as paramedics, is enhanced.

Improve mental health crisis response infrastructure

Practice Summary: Garland ISD school counselors provide short term counseling, conduct prevention-based classroom instruction, facilitate small groups, presentations, develop school-wide programs to promote social and emotional development, and make referrals to mental health professionals. When needed, School Counselors refer students to Responsive Services Counselors and Community Agency Therapists. Responsive Service Counselors are district mental health professionals who are certified LPC, LMSW, LCSW, and/or School Counselors that serve as a support member of the campus counseling and crisis team.

Additional info: We have 157 Professional School Counselors and 14 Responsive Service Counselors. The Guidance and Counseling Department is made up of six individuals. Four staff members are Professional School Counselors, the Director is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and the Responsive Services Administrator is a Licensed Master Social Worker.

The counseling referral process is as follows: 

  1. Campus staff members are expected to refer student personal, social, emotional, and/or academic concerns to a Professional School Counselor. Professional School Counselors will assess, consult with parents, and provide counseling as needed. 

  2. If there is a persistent pattern of behavior or a formal and/or informal assessment conducted by the Professional School Counselor determines there is a need to consult a mental health professional, the Professional School Counselors will refer the student to a Responsive Services Counselor or a Community Agency Therapist.

  3. Responsive Services Counselors provide short to mid-range counseling to students. If the Responsive Services Counselor determines the student’s needs exceed the services that can be provided within a school setting and that the student would be better served in a therapeutic setting, the Responsive Services Counselor will refer the student to a Community Agency Therapist for impatient and/or outpatient treatment.

  4. Responsive Services Counselors and Community Agency Therapists should provide Professional School Counselors with ongoing communication regarding student progress. In order to receive community agency services and treatment plans, parents must complete appropriate forms.

Increase mental health First Aid training

Practice Summary: Facilitate mental health awareness and training opportunities for all staff.

Additional info: During the 2018-2019 school year, the Guidance and Counseling Department in collaboration with the Student Services Department worked closely with numerous agencies such as Metrocare Services, Communities in Schools, and Region 10 to provide free Mental Health First Aid training to Garland ISD staff members. The first-year implementation plans included training GISD Responsive Services Counselors and School Counselors to help ensure that our mental health first responders were up to date on best practices. To ensure that all GISD staff members receive Mental Health First Aid training, it will be available monthly to staff members during the 2019-2020 school year.

Provide mental health evaluations that identify students at risk of harming others and provide them the help they need

Practice Summary: All school counselors and responsive services counselors are trained to conduct suicide intervention protocols and to refer at-risk students to local mental health agencies for additional evaluations.

Additional info: TheGISD Guidance & Counseling Department created a local instrument called the suicide intervention protocol in an effort to screen individuals who are at risk of self-harm. Over 910 GISD staff campus members have attended district-led Suicide Intervention Protocol Training. In addition to the district meetings, school counselors have facilitated campus-based professional development regarding Suicide Prevention and mental health awareness.