Texas District Makes Big Security Changes Following Nearby Shooting
Texas City Independent School District has made big, bold changes to its campus security and safety following the May 18, 2018, shooting at Santa Fe High School, which left nine students and one teacher dead. “It had a huge impact on us,” Superintendent of Texas City Schools Rodney Cavness said. “That’s real close to us.”
- By Jessica Davis
- February 25, 2019
Texas City Independent School District has made big, bold changes to its campus security and safety following the May 18, 2018, shooting at Santa Fe High School, which left nine students and one teacher dead.
“It had a huge impact on us,” Superintendent of Texas City Schools Rodney Cavness told WPTV. “That’s real close to us.”
Texas City ISD is only 15 miles from Santa Fe, Texas, where the shooting took place. Cavness wasted no time enhancing security in his district after the shooting.
“The Monday after the Santa Fe shooting, we determined we didn’t have a safety and security expert on staff, and we went and hired one,” Cavness said.
Mike Matranga, a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Secret Service was hired to lead the new security initiative. Matranga was given full discretion and more than $6 million in voter-approved new taxes to spend on securing the district’s buildings.
Some of the funds went toward 22 short-barrel rifles. There are AR-15 semiautomatic weapons at each school in the district, which are only accessible by a sheriff’s resource officer.
Bullet-resistant film was added to all the glass at Blocker Middle School.
“I could give you a hammer or a crow bar and you can just wail away at this thing for minutes, right?” Matranga said.
The district has added secure zones for campus receptionists, who are able to lock entrances with the press of a button. Classroom doors are also more heavily secured, able to withstand 3,000 pounds of force.
Teachers have an app with an “active shooter” button that immediately alerts local authorities when pressed.
In addition, district students were given radio-frequency ID badges that allow officials to track student locations while on campus.
“Soon, the district will even have a system of cameras capable of object and facial recognition,” Matranga said. “They’ll be able to tell when someone’s on campus who shouldn’t be.”
According to Matranga, these measures have doubled the safety of Texas City ISD campuses; however, he added, no school can ever be 100 percent secure.
Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.