dallas isd

Dallas ISD Leader Cites Safety, Security As Priority For District

District's new superintendent holds first news conference, discusses safety and security efforts for upcoming year

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Dr. Stephanie Elizalde, the new superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, held her first news conference Tuesday to discuss safety in the district.

Elizalde cited safety, not learning, as their number one objective. She stressed repeatedly there's no one solution but the district is throwing resources into various avenues to help build peace of mind for parents and employees.

Elizalde cited the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas as why safety is a top concern of many in the community.

Last month, the district said clear or mesh backpacks would be required for all students in grades 6-12. The district said the decision stems from recommendations made by the district's safety and internal task forces as well as student and parent feedback gathered earlier this month. The district will distribute clear backpacks to all students before the start of the school year.

Elizalde asked parents who are gun owners to help them ensure those weapons are locked, and away from children.

Dr. Stephanie Elizade, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, and Dallas ISD Police Chief John Lawton talk about their plans to enhance safety and security ahead of the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.

Dallas ISD Police and Dallas Police spoke about active shooter training they underwent recently and will continue through the year.

"Partnerships and communication are key," said John Lawton, Chief, Dallas ISD Police.

On campus, Elizalde cited $95 million in bond money being used to help ensure cameras are upgraded and operational, safety vestibules are secure, video doorbells are installed, and metal detectors are in place in all secondary schools. She doesn't think they belong in elementary schools.

   Employees also have undergone additional training so that communication and procedures are in place in the event of the unthinkable.

Dallas ISD previously announced they would work with other schools across the country sharing best practices when it comes to safety. Elizalde added such communication was important with schools in the immediate area as well.

Elizalde talked about the need to balance training, and the impact such a situation could have on students. Two drills a year are planned, but the number can be adjusted campus by campus based on how students respond.

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