As the school year comes to an end in Fort Worth Independent School District, parents will have an opportunity for open dialogue with district leaders.
Board of Education Trustee Christene Moss, Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner, Chief of Secondary Schools Cherie Washington and Chief of Equity and Excellence Sherry Breed will host a “Critical Conversations: Connecting with Our Community” meeting on Wednesday.
The gathering is from 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. in the Dunbar High School cafeteria 5700 Ramey, Fort Worth.
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“Listening is so important and we want attendees to know that their opinion matters. That is why we are calling this event Critical Conversations because it is critical to hear from people who live, work and attend school in this community,” Christene Moss said in a press release.
Several Fort Worth ISD parents said school security and safety are at the top of their list conversations they want to have.
“I would just want more security around the whole entire school,” Amelia Tatofi said. “If they have to put metal detectors in there then so be it. Just so that us parents can feel that our kids are safe at school.”
Parents who spoke to NBC 5 said they have specific concerns and ideas they want addressed including metal detectors, the possibility of armed guards, school policies on bullying and mental health awareness for troubled students.
“I think that the guidance counselor or whoever should pay more attention to those kids. Talk more to them and see if there is anything that they can do,” Kolona Green said. “Talk to their parents and see if there is anything they can do at home.”
The Critical Conversations event agenda is will cover Lone Star Governance, the Family Resources Center, suspensions of girls and additional topics as presented by the community, but district officials said if parents want to address school safety it will be discussed “without giving away too much of our preventative measures.”
“We are involved in an almost constant conversation about how we can improve security without making our schools fortresses and within the constraints of financial resources,” FWISD representative Clint Bond said in an email. “That is not just a tough question for the Fort Worth ISD but for all schools, nationwide.”
Bond explained some of the safety and security plans and modifications moving forward.
“Some immediate suggestions by local law enforcement to our Safety and Security Department have resulted in a number of important actions,” Bond said.
“For example, if a school receives a threat a crisis response team will quickly attempt to locate the source. If that source happens to be a student an immediate assessment is conducted on the likelihood that such a threat could be carried out,” Bond added. “Often there is a rapid police visit to the student’s house and conversations with parents or guardians.”
Bond was also able address some of the parental ideas and questions before the meeting.
“We already possess and utilize metal detectors at the discretion of campus leadership, Safety and Security, and the recommendation of police,” Bond said. “All of our schools are now outfitted with priority card access systems which are especially important when students are inside the buildings in class.”
“There are other measures we are considering but prefer to maintain those as confidential,” Bond added.