Between August and October 2022, all 76 Plano ISD facilities went through a safety and security audit by PBK, the Houston-based company that launched the Texas School Safety and Security Council (TSSSC) in 2018. Based on the PBK architect’s findings, Plano ISD approved a security improvement plan that began in January 2023.
In 2021, based on TSSSC meetings that included “a consortium of the best qualified, and most expert, advisors and practitioners in the field of school safety and security,” PBK Architects and the TSSSC created the Together for Tomorrow safety and security whitepaper that included best practices for school administrations and law enforcement to follow in order to holistically improve school safety.
As previously reported by Local Profile, various school districts in Collin County enhanced their safety and security ahead of the 2022-2023 school year. In August 2022, Plano ISD announced a new leadership role: director of emergency management in safe schools.
The position’s primary responsibility is to monitor campus safety plans and provide professional learning on the best practices for keeping students and staff safe. During the summer break, PISD’s Safety and Security department provided all campus administrators and teachers with training. The department also conducted audits of campuses and processes all summer.
On May 16, 2023, at a board of trustees meeting, assistant superintendent of leadership and operations, Dr. Selenda Freeman, presented initiatives to improve school safety as well as grants awarded to the district to achieve that goal.
According to Freeman, PISD allocated close to $54 million of its budget to safety and security measures. Among these, she highlighted PBK Architect’s recommendations following the audit, such as additional fencing around school grounds, entry-resistant film on windows and doors, improving visitors' records and a door position switch system to alert security staff of any external door that’s unlocked or open.
Plano ISD Chief Security Officer Kevin Keating detailed the department’s actions during the 2022-2023 school year, including 658 unannounced campus inspections to check for unlocked or open doors, staff’s knowledge of security protocols and emergency procedures and student and staff ID badges.
According to Keating, this, along with the Texas School Safety Center’s random security checks conducted across Texas and municipality collaboration, allowed the district to respond quickly when breaches in security and threats to school were reported.