Communication and Collaboration; Theme at School Safety Summit

Wichita Falls, TX. - Tragedies like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary and the tornado in Moore which leveled two elementary schools have prompted conversations about school safety.

Wednesday Texoma school districts and law enforcement gathered in Wichita falls to re-evaluate their disaster plans.

School officials say the key to good planning is communication and collaboration with law enforcement and parents to ensure the plan runs smoothly in any kind of dangerous situation.

Holliday school district superintendent Kevin Dyes says safety is the number one priority.

"Our job is teaching kids but you can't teach them unless they are in a safe and secure environment," says Dyes.

He says recent school tragedies have made school officials realize there is no perfect plan, But their job is to make sure plans get better every year.
"There's a lot of things to take into consideration and when you're putting together those plans, you have to consider all the different issues that would have to do with safety," says Dyes.

Region Nine deputy director Darren Francis says it doesn't matter if you are dealing with a gas leak, school shooter or natural disaster knowing that plans don't always work is an important part of the planning.
 "Knowing all the options and being able to adjust on the fly to make those best decisions in a split second is very important," says Francis.

Both men say communication with parents is extremely important.
 "Probably the best things that we can do is to make sure that we have good cell phone numbers in our school database, if we need to send out an emergency message or emergency text, as close to one hundred percent of our parents as possible," says Dyes.

Dyes says the best plan combines parents, school faculty and law enforcement working together to make changes as safety standards evolve.

 "If there's things you can do immediately do them, then lets step back and have some planning involved and lets have a coordinated effort to make schools safer and take care of our kids the best we can as the world changes," says Dyes.
If you want to look more into school safety, here are some school safety resources:
Texas School Safety Center

Texas Association of School Boards

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