January 23, 2020 by HCDE-Texas
With the recent passage of Senate Bill 11, Texas now joins the short list of states in the United States to legislatively mandate the implementation of threat assessment teams to promote school safety in its public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools.
Goose Creek CISD Deputy Superintendent Anthony Price is over safety and security and wants to be on top of what’s going on within the state, district and area.
Patricia Kay, Crosby ISD assistant superintendent, wanted to bring a team from her district so they can start the threat assessment process.
Harris County Department of Education’s Center for Safe and Secure Schools recently partnered with Sheldon ISD to host the Threat Assessment Workshop: The Next Steps at Panther Stadium with hopes of neighboring school districts bringing additional personnel without worrying about travel. About 80 people were in attendance.
By traveling to area school districts, the Center hopes to empower more districts through school safety initiatives. Providing this training closer to many districts in east Harris County provided them the chance to bring additional staff.
“We’re strategically setting up these workshops throughout the county to impact this mandate and help the school districts we serve,” said Julia Andrews, Center director.
“We love that it’s here next to us in one of our neighboring school districts and because of that I was able to bring five others from my district,” Price said.
“I was excited to see it here (Sheldon ISD) and I think that really allowed us to have as many as we have here since it’s right in our backyard,” Kay said.
The board of trustees of each school district is now required to establish a threat assessment team to serve at each campus of their district. Each team is required to complete base training provided by the Texas School Safety Center or a Regional Education Service Center. The base training is based on the training program developed by Sigma Threat Consultants.
“We want to provide every tool and best practice for students if a crisis situation were to occur,” Price said. “I’ve been doing active shooter and risk management trainings for 18 years, so anytime I can learn more information it makes it more important to better serve our students.”
“This training will provide a take-away where we can have documents that will guide us as we go forward to forming our team and training,” Kay said. “We built a team three years ago, but with the mandates from Senate Bill 11 we wanted to get we wanted to get structured and formal with it plan.”
CSSS teamed up with Sigma Senior Consultant Melissa Reeves to provide the workshop that covers the next steps after the required basic training. Participants learned the legal and ethical guidelines driving higher standards needed for multi-disciplinary threat assessment teams. The session covered best practices, specific resources, an implementation checklist, and roles/responsibilities for establishing and/or refining their teams, protocols, and processes.
Each attendee either learned something new to add into their plan or were refreshed on key points.
“Reeves has shared some excellent points that she made more clear for us on the legalities, going over the law, the things we can do stay in the law and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act training to what we can use during emergency situations,” Price said.
“This training is very productive and refreshed me on what we need to do, think about, the importance to be impartial by blocking out any biases and in fairness to every kid,” Kay said.
Visit the CSSS website for updated training dates at https://hcde-texas.org/safe-and-secure-schools/.