ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Corrective action is being taken at multiple Abilene ISD campuses to improve security in the event of an intruder. The need to do so comes from the 2023 state “Intruder detection Audit,” conducted in September and October.
AISD Director of School safety and security, Tony Lassetter addressed the school board on the findings during the district’s November meeting, “The intruder detection audits conducted in September and October resulted in findings at multiple campuses and are being properly addressed… We are working with campus administration and their school safety and security teams to ensure all staff received the required relevant training, and district staff continue in securing the doors for the protection of everyone on our campuses.”
Specific details including which campuses were named, what vulnerabilities were found, and how they are being rectified will not be released to the public to retain campus safety and security. Texas school safety and security center’s associate director of safety and readiness, Nate Turner explained this omission in a 2022 podcast:
“To discuss the details of those audits and those findings would create vulnerabilities for that campus,” said Turner.
District staff has firmly stated that measures are being taken to get in line with Texas education safety standards. AISD Associate Superintendent of operations, Dr. Joseph Waldron further reassured that school security is not an issue taken lightly.
“The important thing for people to know, for our parents to know, is that AISD continuously monitors and adjusts for the priority that we put on the safety and security of our students and staff every day,” Dr. Waldron told KTAB/KRBC.
This audit process was created in 2022 at the request of Texas Governor Greg Abbott following the school shooting in Uvalde. The Governor called on the school safety and security center (TxSSC) to develop a system by which to test campus intruder preparedness.
Excerpt from Gov. Greg Abbott’s letter to the Texas School Safety Center – June 1st, 2022:
“I am charging the TxSSC, in coordination with TEA (Texas Education Agency), to develop and implement a plan to conduct random inspections to assess access control measures of Texas school districts. Among other reviews, your team should begin conducting in-person, unannounced, random intruder detection audits on school districts.”
In the 2022 podcast, Turner pointed out how the center conducts these audits, sending an inspector to each district or campus incognito to search for points of entry, and discuss school procedure in the event of an intruder, “Our inspectors are trained to dress normally as if they fit in. They come in looking like an educator coming on to a campus, no threatening behavior… Definitely not carrying any weapons.”
While multiple Abilene campuses were found to need corrective action, Turner said this does not necessarily mean they are unsafe, but rather that there are areas that could be improved upon.
“That is an opportunity for that school district and that campus to be able to share with the public that, ‘you know what… They did us a favor by pointing out a vulnerability that we were unaware of and now we’ve got a plan, and we have retrained and that situation has been taken care of,’ and your students are safer at school now because of it,” shared Turner.
Again, district staff has stated that security measures and training are underway at the campuses named in the report.