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School security is important to district

By BY ROBERT JAKLICH
Aug. 31, 2013 at 3:31 a.m.

Robert Jaklich

In the Victoria Independent School District, the safety and well-being of our students and staff is our number one priority. While we work each day to provide educational excellence for every child in every classroom every day, our primary responsibility must be to keep our children safe. As parents and guardians, you have entrusted us with a priceless gift by sending your children to our schools, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

Many years ago, when most of our schools were constructed, schools were planned without the concern for enhanced security as a primary design feature. Sadly, events in recent years have prompted a change in the design of public buildings across the country.

In the Victoria ISD, we began implementing security enhancements in our schools more than a decade ago. The first steps were in attempting to know who was on a campus at any given time. That's when you started seeing signs posted that visitors should report to the school office when arriving on campus. Throughout the years, that provision was enhanced to require photo identification and the wearing of a visitor badge when on campus. One of the new design features that emerged in recent years was security doors in public buildings that restricted access to specific areas. We began installing those doors during our new construction and remodeling projects.

The horrors of last December, when a gunman gained access to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed innocent children and staff members, gave us a chilling reminder of the fragility of life and the need to protect our children from harm. We are continuing with the installation of security measures across our "612 square miles of excellence" and are extremely excited regarding the preventive measures these security protocols will produce.

The most notable change you will see on our elementary campuses relates to the security doors. As you are already aware, when you visit our schools, you must check in at the office and present your photo ID. Now, we have doors that are locked between the office and classroom areas. Gaining admittance to the areas where there are children requires the office releasing the lock on the door. Some of our campuses have floor plans that do not accommodate the security doors. In those situations, each campus develops its own protocols for visitor entry in instructional areas to ensure student safety, school security and respect for the learning environment.

Eleanor Roosevelt once stated: "We gain strength, courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face. . We must do that which we think we cannot." Each and every day, our students and staff are faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. As we continue to move forward and face the challenges that lie ahead, we will never lose sight of the fact that by working together, we can and will always achieve more. On behalf of our board of trustees and the entire VISD, thank you for your belief in our school district and for reminding us all that the VISD is too great for small dreams.

Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.

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