"Over the Christmas holidays, we put in a point-of-entry system. So now, to enter our buildings, you have to be buzzed in."
Slaton ISD Superintendent Julee Becker said the district has always been mindful of student safety, but the Sandy Hook tragedy has prompted staff members to take security efforts a step further.
"We've worked closely with the Slaton Police Department for several years and had a school resource officer that we could call anytime, and they would be there," Becker said. "They would be at sporting events and other kinds of events, but we haven't had someone in place that's an expert in safety and security."
The school board is now in the process of hiring a police chief for the district. Becker said the officer would hold a position on the board, as well as making rounds at all four campuses throughout the day.
"One of the main things with safety is that people are aware and they are trained to look out for what looks different or what sounds different," Becker said. "To listen to kids, to listen to the adults in the building, to watch. So, that person will be doing a lot of training with our staff."
"He our she would be responsible to train these teachers to be ready in case of any kind of incidences."
Board President Carlos Bentancourt said with about 1300 students, the district may be smaller than some, but he'd rather be proactive than reactive.
"We don't have to be Sandy Hook, we don't have to be New York, we don't have to be Houston, Dallas, any of those big cities," Bentancourt said. "Tragedies happen where they're going to happen, but we want to be prepared to prevent tragedies from happening. There's not a perfect school district. We've had instances where we've had a tragedy years ago in our school district. Would this have prevented it? Maybe."
Becker said they are in the process of interviewing people, and will recommend a police chief to the board on July 9. For the first year, she said one officer will make up the district's police force, but said it could expand later on.