Creating a safe and secure environment for our students, staff and visitors is a main priority for Lufkin ISD. Schools are places of learning, creative play and innovation, not a place for fear and suspicion. It has been of great importance to me to work side-by-side with our Lufkin ISD police department, district and campus administration and school board to ensure that protocols are in place for any situation.
With that in mind, the district has increased our safety and security measures with the following:
■ Safety committee meets regularly to discuss school safety standards and schools all have an emergency management plan in place.
■ Hiring of two additional parking guards at the Lufkin Middle School.
■ Purchasing five rifles that will be locked and stored in secure areas.
■ Installing keyless entry at Lufkin High School using biometrics, requiring a fingerprint and not an ID card, to limit access.
■ Adding a canine to be utilized to sniff out drugs across the district. Paul Jackson, who was previously a canine officer, will become a canine officer for Lufkin ISD. The dog won’t be a ‘‘take down’’ dog or a bite dog, but can sniff out contraband.
■ Issuing safety supplies for each classroom in case of a lockdown or lockout.
■ Training each campus for safety-standardized protocol for teachers and staff called avoid, deny and defend.
■ Inviting all police officers, sheriff deputies and DPS officers to our campuses for a free lunch. These officers also are welcome to join us free of charge to all Lufkin ISD athletic events.
I believe that it is also important to provide students with access to effective counselors and caring adults who can help students through difficult times.
When tragic situations have occurred across the country, we often hear that a student felt disconnected from his peers, family, school or other caring adults. Having an adult to talk to helps.
Our goal at Lufkin ISD is to always help students. We want to create an environment where a student can seek a caring adult or equip other students to feel secure in helping their peers get the help they need. We will work to continue to be proactive and not simply reactive to the world around us.
To share the district’s security plan in more detail, join the district administration, as well as board members, at the Panther Community Forum at 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Tom Jack Lucas Auditorium at Lufkin High School. We hope to have the newest member of our police force, Heroz, our canine officer, at the event.
That night also will include an update on the passage of the bond for the middle school, multi-purpose facility at the high school and baseball/softball fields at the high school.
We are here to serve the students and parents of Lufkin ISD and we take that job seriously. We hope you’ll join us at the Community Forum so that together we can provide the best learning environment possible and continue to offer limitless possibilities for our students.
Lynn Torres is the superintendent of Lufkin ISD. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. This column first appeared in The Lufkin News.