Safety and Security in GCISD

New for 2018-2019
In GCISD, student safety is the top priority of the Board of Trustees, Superintendent and District staff. Several new items and initiatives are in place for the 2018-2019 school year.

  • Secondary students will be required to wear their school identification badge while on campus
  • A “See Something, Say Something” App and link will be found on all student issued devices to ensure students can easily and anonymously report crimes, bullying, threats or students in crisis. Every student in GCISD will have access to the “See Something, Say Something” app, which is a direct reporting site for Tarrant County Campus Crime Stoppers and Friends for Life.
  • Campus administration will involve student groups in opportunities to discuss security at their school and receive their feedback for issues or improvements
  • An increased presence of police patrol officers on all campuses
  • Expansion of the District’s Safety and Security Committee to include police, fire and emergency management representatives from local government, as well as parents and campus staff
  • Signage at campuses reminding students to keep their building secure by not allowing unauthorized people into the building
  • Police command staff and dispatch will have access to school video cameras during emergency events
  • Additional cameras on campus additions and new buildings and replaced legacy cameras at many facilities
  • Under development: new public service announcements for students pertaining to key safety and security procedures

Existing Safety & Security in GCISD
GCISD already employs many of the best practices recommended by various organizations specifically focused on school safety and security. Below is an explanation of existing safety and security measures in GCISD. Note, however, that not all GCISD measures are necessarily shared on this public site.

Allen Smith is the Director of Emergency Management and School Security. He came to GCISD with twenty-five years of experience as a police officer with the last fifteen as a School Resource Officer. As part of his role, the GCISD Board of Trustees authorized him to be armed while on District property. He is responsible for the security of all GCISD campuses and works closely with the administrative staff of each campus. He also works closely with campus School Resource Officers and local police partners to build the relationships necessary for strong and effective cooperation. For example, local police use the District’s schools for tactical training. This continues to familiarize them with each school and how best to respond to emergency situations.

Each secondary campus has a School Resource Officer that is stationed at the school during the school year. These officers are full-time employees of local enforcement and through a cooperative agreement with GCISD.  These officers are tasked with developing relationships with students to enhance school climate. These School Resource Officers are also available to respond to the District’s elementary campuses as needed. District School Resource Officers are specially trained in the area of juvenile and school-based law enforcement and the District works closely with them to investigate every concern quickly and thoroughly. GCISD communicates with staff, parents and the community when matters arise that warrant wider communication. When the District does have to communicate, there are questions that may be left unanswered for families based on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which prohibits the District and campuses from sharing specific information related to the incident or students. GCISD has policies and procedures in place for addressing these incidents, even if the District is unable to provide those specific disciplinary details. For more general information on the district’s disciplinary guidelines, please review the Student Code of Conduct.

Every campus has a robust door access management and control system to keep doors locked and alert campus administrative staff when doors are held open for an extended period of time.

Campuses are equipped with a video door buzzer system at the main entrance to identify visitors before allowing them into the school. Additionally, all GCISD schools use a system to check the background of visitors for sexual offenses.

GCISD operates under a district-wide Emergency Operations Plan as well as a campus-specific plan for each campus. These plans follow the requirements of the federal U.S. Department of Homeland Security and as required by the Texas Schools Safety Center. The Director of Emergency Management and School Security works closely with an Emergency Management Team at each campus to implement and practice these plans and District required drills for students and staff. All plans include a location for offsite reunification as needed.

Students and staff regularly participate in a series of drills known as the Standard Response Protocol (SRP). These drills are completed within the first two weeks of school and then again throughout the year. The Standard Response Protocol is based on the model provided by the I Love You Guys Foundation and was again recently recommended by Governor Abbott’s task force as a best practice. More information may be found at this link: www.iloveuguys.org.

The District has used third parties to conduct required audits of District schools and other facilities to assess vulnerabilities and make recommendations. The School Safety & Security Committee also will be engaged in mini-audits of schools as well as to make recommendations.

In GCISD campus culture is a priority. Campus administrators emphasize the importance of staff building relationships with students and with other staff members in order to have a healthy culture and encourage students to share information and report concerns.

GCISD counselors and other District staff have been trained to use a threat assessment protocol developed by the Secret Service to conduct assessments of students, staff, or others as needed to determine any possible level of the threat.

In 2018, the Grapevine Police Department provided training to the District’s bus drivers and bus monitors on various topics during driver training briefings. GCISD will continue to partner with the Grapevine Police Department to train our Transportation employees during the 2018-2019 school year.

If a student, parent, staff member or community member has a concern, please contact the Director of Emergency Management and School Security, Allen Smith at 817-251-5308, or Tarrant County Crime Stoppers and Campus Crime Stoppers at www.469.tips or 817-469-TIPS (8477).

2016 Bond Program
The 2016 Bond Program provides the following upgrades/additions to support a safe and secure school environment:

  • Create secured vestibules for schools that do not have a secured vestibule. Three schools were completed in 2017 with six more to be completed in 2019. All but one campus will have a secured vestibule by the fall of 2019.
  • Upgrade intercom systems in identified schools and add exterior building speakers for announcements
  • Add or replace legacy handheld communication radios for schools
  • Add hardware to classroom doors to maintain fire-rated corridor and ability to keep doors locked at all times
  • Replace legacy video cameras
  • Replace servers supporting cameras video storage and add storage capacity for video archive at higher quality rates
  • Provide upgrades for a fully integrated network security system to prevent attacks on the District’s network system and protect data

Construction Projects – Determining Priorities
During the bond planning process, the FIRST committee was concerned with rising costs and the amount of escalation the bond package would have needed if the District were to wait one or more years before initiating higher cost projects. Therefore, the fiscal need of carrying the least escalation possible for those projects set in motion which projects would be designed and initiated first. For example, replacing Cannon Elementary School was first in line along with building the new Multipurpose Activity Centers.

Classroom additions were also deemed a priority due to projected enrollments and escalating construction costs. The District, therefore, moved forward with additions to Grapevine Middle School and Timberline Elementary School in the Summer of 2017. As the District was already working on these campuses, the renovations approved in the Bond also were completed, which included a secured vestibule and upgrading and adding video cameras. These renovations also were completed at Heritage Middle School.

While escalation costs dictated the priority given to large construction projects, the District has made progress on additional security measures from the 2016 Bond. During the Summer of 2016, the District replaced all of the servers supporting security cameras and management of video archive and in Summer 2017 additional legacy security cameras were replaced.

Determining a schedule for campus renovations and creation of secured vestibules requires individualized plans as the redesign of each campus is unique. Additionally, work cannot be completed during the school year, so the District must schedule these projects to be completed during the summer. Moving forward, the schedule of construction projects, which includes a secured vestibule for campuses that do not have one, is as follows:

Summer of 2019: Dove Elementary, Glenhope Elementary, Grapevine Elementary, O.C. Taylor Elementary, Silver Lake Elementary, Colleyville Middle School, Cross Timbers Middle School and Grapevine High School

Summer of 2020: Early Childhood Development Center, Bear Creek Elementary, Bransford Elementary, Colleyville Elementary, Heritage Elementary, Colleyville Heritage High School, Professional Development Education Center, Swim Center, Transportation, Warehouse, Facilities and Administration.

*All but one campus will have a secured vestibule by August 2019. The work in Summer of 2020 at Bear Creek, Bransford, Colleyville and Heritage Elementary Schools will be to renovate existing vestibules.