Editor’s Note: The video above first aired in May, 2023 and addresses campus safety in Odessa one year after a mass shooting in Uvalde.
WASHINGTON (KMID/KPEJ)- U.S. Senator John Cornyn announced today that Ector County ISD was awarded a federal grant totaling $356,250 to improve security through school safety programs that can include violence prevention training for law enforcement, the addition of physical security, and the installation of technology for expedited notification of law enforcement during an emergency.
This grant comes from the U.S. Department of Justice’s School Violence Prevention Program. A significant portion of this program’s funding was authorized by Cornyn’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, signed into law on June 25, 2022, to address specific concerns that have led to recent mass shootings.
“No parent should fear for the safety of their student when they drop them off at school, and no student or teacher should be afraid when they walk into the classroom,”said Cornyn.“In the aftermath of the tragedy in Uvalde, I’m grateful that meaningful solutions are being delivered through this funding to prevent violence in Texas schools.”
ECISD leaders will meet next week to discuss which projects will be funded by the grant; the district’s grant proposal included a request for funding for items such as police vehicle radios and security camera monitors. Following that meeting, the district said it will let the community know exactly which school safety projects will move forward.
In May, Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri sat down with ABC Big 2 to discuss some of the safety measures already in place across the district. Those safety measures include intruder-resistant film installed on campuses with glass front doors, additional officers added to the ECISD Police Department, as well as safety checks once a week.
“We now do safety checks in each of our schools once a week- so every single week, every single school has a safety audit that is conducted by one of those police officers that we’ve added to the force. We now lock all of our interior doors- prior to 2020 all exterior doors were locked and now we lock every interior door in each school in ECISD,” said Dr. Muri during that interview.
ECISD Police Chief Jeff Daniels also said the district is continuing with its hall pass program, to ensure that campus visitors are welcome ones.
“We have a hall pass program that scans every visitor that comes on our campus and identifies that person. It lets us know if they’re wanted, or on the sex offenders list, or maybe just someone we put on the list that we don’t want on our campuses,” Daniels.
Grants such as the one awarded to the district today will also help in areas in which Muri said ECISD could still improve, such a “panic” buttons, ECISD officers stationed at all campuses, including the elementary schools, and continued training for staff.