Many of you have concerns about the safety of the students, faculty and staff at White Oak ISD. Recent events in Newtown, Connecticut are a stark reminder that evil exists in the world and even our most precious treasures (children) are not immune to its brutal intentions. I would like to provide you with information about some of the precautions and procedures in place at WOISD to help ensure the safety of all involved in the education of our children.
White Oak ISD is comprised of buildings constructed from 1945 through 1981. Most of these structures were built without modern security measures in mind. The district is making a concentrated effort to ensure student safety while maintaining an environment that is not perceived to be punitive in nature. Here are some of the measures in place:
- Every entrance and parent pick up/drop off area at every campus is monitored with cameras (day and night vision) recorded and archived. Each campus will receive additional cameras in the next few weeks to cover hallways and parking lots. These cameras can be monitored through the web at off campus locations.
- White Oak ISD has emergency procedures in place for room, building and district wide evacuation that are coordinated with White Oak PD and Fire Department. All campuses are drilled on evacuation and shelter in place procedures. This safety plan is sent to the Texas Attorney General’s office for review each year.
- Police, Fire and Medical first responders are literally seconds away from every campus in the district. All of these agencies have an intricate knowledge of the campuses and the procedures in place at the district. All of these personnel are on the grounds of the district regularly.
- Should the need arise for assistance from agencies outside the White Oak PD, the knowledge of these officers will be invaluable in the process of regaining order.
- The first line of security in our district has been, and will continue to be, an actively monitoring faculty, staff and administration. It is correct that someone may, by design, think they can enter one of our buildings and get into areas without challenge. I will say that that is not true in practice. Teachers, staff and administrators are very consistent to welcome visitors and direct them to the proper location to check-in. You will find, in practice, that our adults are where the children are located.
Please know that these procedures do not give any member of this district a false sense of security. We are constantly looking for ways to better protect our students and continue with the goal of providing a first class education to all of our students. The safety of our students will most certainly be discussed at the next School Board Meeting.
There is no doubt that steps can be taken to improve the safety of any location, school or otherwise. As you know, the campus that was attacked in Newtown had what is considered to be an up to date secure entrance system. A lone lunatic, with intent to do harm, found a way in despite those measures.
I do believe that a reasonable measure of security is in place for the students, faculty and staff at White Oak ISD. The facts are that students, across the country, and in White Oak, are much safer in school and on the school bus than they are in their own homes and personal vehicles. It is my hope that the information provided is beneficial to you and your family.
Michael Gilbert, Superintendent
White Oak ISD