By JUDY SHERIDAN
Active shooter training for school police officers, the installation of campus “panic buttons” and a student Crime Stoppers program are all coming to Aledo ISD soon, according to a security report presented to trustees last week by Kathy Allen, executive director of curriculum and chair of a 15-member safety committee.
Allen outlined Aledo ISD’s past, present and future safety initiatives as part of a comprehensive report that also covered resources, requirements, standards, practices, partnerships and training.
She began with district initiatives dating from October 2011, which included group crisis intervention training and building emergency operations plans into an electronic format, and then moved on to initiating plans for a more secure high school entry — now in progress — and employing full-time and part-time police officers.
Allen said new crisis intervention recovery teams — who help restore the learning environment after a crisis event — were used effectively soon after they were established.
“They got started in October of 2011-12, and were brought to the district by lead counselor Scott Kessel,” she said. “It was great timing because in December we had that fatal car accident, and we were able to put those plans into place.”
The two new police officers were hired in February, two months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Connecticut.
They have now been assigned to schools and coverage areas, along with other campus police: Lt. Tim Harper to Aledo High School and the Learning Center; Police Chief Chawn Gilliland to Daniel Ninth Grade campus and McCall Elementary School; Officer Shelly Huffman to Aledo Middle School and Vandagriff Elementary; Officer Wes Cummins to McAnally Intermediate and Stuard Elementary; and Officer Tom Kelly to Coder Elementary, with Officer Stephanie Alvarez roving and assigned to night events.
Chris Morrison, who works in technology, is a reserve police officer as well.
Superintendent Dan Manning, recently attending a meeting at Stuard Elementary, said Cummins, the new full-time officer who is based there, is getting a warm welcome.
“Officer Cummins was formally introduced to the staff, and they cheered, and he mentioned he had met many of the staff and was already getting cookies from parents as they were dropping their children off in the morning,” Manning said.
“Stuard is our southernmost campus, the furthest away, and there is a great sense of camaraderie and relief for the staff and the parents out there.”
Another upgrade is the recent implementation of security access at the Central Administration Building.
In April, Allen said, Chief Gilliland will give a report to the board about Crime Stoppers and how he is going through Parker County to put the program in place.
“Crime Stoppers is a program where kids can either electronically — or by making a phone call — report a potential crime or something that has happened,” she said, “and that notice will be sent to Chief Gilliland or Lt. Harper.”
“They will give the information to administrators, so they can respond immediately, and the kids get a reward from the Crime Stoppers program if it helps solve or prevent a crime. It’s something we’re really excited about coming online.”
Another safety boost, Allen said, is the creation of standardized safety folders that will be posted in classrooms, giving staff and substitutes easily accessible information on safety drills.
Other changes are slated for summer.
“This summer we’re hoping to install panic buttons,” Allen said. “They are for times like arrival time at school, when there are multiple doors that kids and parents can enter. If we have a situation where we have to do an immediate lock down, all we have to do is push a button, and it overrides our door system and locks all our doors automatically.”
Better access control for the rock gym at Vandagriff Elementary and securing ”go-bags” for each campus with basic emergency tools are also on the summer agenda.
Active shooter training, involving AISD PD, local agencies and AISD administrators, is planned for June 10-12, Allen said. Rubber bullets might be fired during the mock-up event, she said, and administrators could assume student roles.
Board President Bobby Rigues remarked on a Texas Association of School Board session he attended with Allen and Gilliland March 1, entitled, “Practical considerations after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting.”
“I think the greatest take away I came away with is how wide and how deep the issue really is,” he said. “It’s a very complex issue with more questions than answers ... an ongoing issue that is all new territory for school districts across the state.”
'panic buttons,' shooter training planned
By JUDY SHERIDAN
- Aledo ExtrA
Water park burglar sought
Hudson Oaks police are requesting the public’s assistance in catching a burglar who broke into Splash Kingdom Water Park in Hudson Oaks earlier this month.
Commissioner at odds with school district's demand for land
Aledo ISD superintendent Derek Citty is moving forward with plans backed by the school board in May — plans to secure two school sites in the Morningstar subdivision, slated for the corner of Old Weatherford Road and FM Road 3225 in the City of Fort Worth’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
An unforgettable state championship
Corey Kiser and Riley Sartain, members of Aledo High School’s state champion softball team, honored by trustees last week, are to blame for the 10-3 tattoo on the finger of their coach, Jeff Lemons.
Firefighter arrested for child sexual assault
A volunteer Hudson Oaks firefighter is in the Parker County Jail on charges he repeatedly sexually assaulted two young relatives over a several year period.
Richard Frederick Adams Sr., 62, arrested July 21, faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, a first-degree felony.
Fire protection improving in Aledo
Stephen Watson, interim chief of Emergency Services District No. 1, briefed the Aledo City Council on improvements to the city’s fire protection — including the purchase of a site for a new fire station — in Thursday night’s Aledo City Council session.
Aledo ISD trustees affirm hiring policy
The Aledo ISD School Board affirmed a policy delegating the hiring of most school personnel to the administration by a 4-1 margin last week, with trustees Jay Stringer, David Tillman, Hoyt Harris and Steve Bartley voting in favor and trustee Bobby Rigues arguing that the board should retain the responsibility.
Aledo coffee shop helps support the troops
HUDSON OAKS — Wild West Splash Kingdom was the host of military members and military supporters the night of Saturday, July 19, during ‘Salute the Troops,’ sponsored by Holy Grounds Coffee and Gifts in Aledo and Ducerus College Planning.
Calendar of events
Holy Grounds Coffee & Gifts, at 108 Jearl Street, is hosting a series of outdoor movies in their parking lot at 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays through Aug. 23.
Admission is free and feature drinks are half price during the films. “The Amazing Spiderman” is Aug. 2, followed by “Tangled” on Aug. 9, “The Lego Movie” on Aug. 16 and “The Avengers” on Aug. 23.
For more information, call 817-440-7770.
A Purple Heart County
County Judge Mark Riley and Parker County commissioners proclaimed Parker County to be a “Purple Heart County” Monday, honoring local veterans and their families in a special ceremony held in the second floor courtroom of the historic courthouse.
Suspicious house fire under investigation
The Weatherford fire marshal says a fire that damaged a house and killed two puppies Wednesday night is being investigated as a suspicious fire and a suspect is in jail on unrelated charges.
- More Aledo ExtrA Headlines
- Water park burglar sought