TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -Enhancing school safety was a major goal for Texas lawmakers during the recent legislative session. That goal has now trickled down to the local level.
In Tyler, hundreds of staff members gathered today for this year's SafeTISD conference with a goal of improving security and emergency preparedness within the district. Michele Gay, a woman who's experienced a school tragedy firsthand helped start the conversation.
Gay lost her daughter in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, and she’s now the co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools.
“For us, the mission is ensuring that all of our school communities are safe,” Gay said. “Learning about what issues they are facing and sharing the lessons that we learned to ensure that our hindsight becomes their foresight.”
Tyler ISD officials believe the resources offered by Safe and Sound Schools will kick start an important conversation.
“The culmination of the 86th legislature has summoned the new safety and security measures they are going to require of school systems,” said Superintendent Marty Crawford. “Certainly, It is something that will be a new normal for us in Tyler ISD as we really focus on the safety and security of our campuses.”
In workshops led by physical security experts, an active shooter specialist, and a school psychologist, district staff learned to develop plans for crisis prevention, response, and recovery. A comprehensive plan that Gary said requires comprehensive support.
"Educators, administrators, parents, students, law enforcement, fire, MES, all of those folks need to be at the table together,” Gay said. “When we share that collective wealth, that’s when we can really do the best in ensuring comprehensive school safety in all of our communities.”
Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization. They also offer resources for parents. For more information visit their web page here.