Brian Scott, NBC 5 Denton County Reporter
Schools in the Northwest Independent School District scored high during a national safety audit, but school leaders say their job providing school security is not done.
The Northwest Independent School District is getting high grades for school security.
An independent audit by Colorado-based Emergency Response Crisis Management Consultants found that the Justin based district is ahead of the curve, citing major capital investments in physical security and training for students and staff.
"Our team has rarely observed such a strong safety and security program within a district," consultant John McDonald wrote in the review.
Superintendent Karen Rue said such independent audits, along with self security audits, are a regular part of the district's operation.
"We can never predict what might happen, but we can do our homework," she said. "When Sandy Hook happened in Connecticut, we made a conscious decision to bring in some national experts to look at what we do, give it a careful and close review and then recommend to us anything we had not thought of or did not know [that] needed attention."
ERCMC recommended the district create a threat-assessment team, add reunification drills and plans for the aftermath of a crisis and continue conducting evaluations as the district grows.
Rue said continued evaluation is something on which the district already insists.
"We've worked diligently for many years to stay in front of the curve to the best extent that we can," she said. "We believe in continuous improvement."
Even though classes are out, district safety and security leaders aren't taking a vacation.
"That's when we really have to put in a lot of hard work preparing for the next school year," said Glenda Beam, safety and security director.
She works year-round to keep up with experts and innovations in the security field so the district can be as up-to-date as possible.
"We have cameras in all of our schools," she said. "We have secure access -- all the high school and middle school students and faculty and staff in the district have to wear IDs."
Rue credits Beam's efforts over the last decade for the district's high security standards. National Safe and Secure Schools has even awarded Beam best safety director.
But Beam credits the school district for making security a priority. It's the main recommendation she makes to other districts looking to improve their standards.
"The top people in the school district have to get on board," she said. "Give someone the resources and the time they need to implement all the things they need to implement to make the school safe."