McALLEN — With renewed attention and nationwide concern on school safety due to the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and social media-fueled rumors of similar acts being plotted locally, officials at the McAllen school district are hosting a town hall meeting to discuss these safety issues today (Tuesday).
The Safety and Security Town Hall will take place at the Texas Our Texas Room at Lamar Academy, located on 1009 N. 10th St., from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., where officials are expected to inform attendees of what the district has been doing in order to ensure the safety of students, teachers and staff inside every campus.
“We have systems and processes in place to handle these situations and we are continuously looking for ways to improve them,” wrote Superintendent Jose Gonzalez in a letter sent to parents last week. “We frequently conduct drills for lock-downs, lock-outs, and fire alarms, so our students and employees are well-versed in emergency preparedness. However, we also welcome a greater conversation about our safety and security procedures.”
Some of the security measures currently implemented are the presence of school district police officers at every middle school and high school campus, a certified police drone team, security cameras and access-control systems at every campus and security lobbies in every elementary school.
There are also works in progress, such as an initiative to equip every classroom door with the ability to lock from the inside and update the safety training that every employee receives, the letter states. But as the district moves forward to make these updates and accommodate to the nature of today’s threats, Gonzalez said it is important to for community members to have these conversations together.
“As an educator and father, I believe that the most powerful tool in our effort to improve school safety is what we do as caring members of our community,” he wrote. “We want to increase the level of conversation with our children and with other members of our community. No one is laughing when someone posts a hoax message. We have to help our young people understand that safety is a serious matter.”
The town hall will be broadcasted live on the school district’s social media pages for those unable to attend.