Frequently Asked Questions
As the District shared prior to the parent meeting on Thursday, August 16, 2018, it was our intent to address questions previously placed in the SFISD Interactive Portal. To ensure that we addressed your questions and concerns, we have included the questions with the following responses:
What is Santa Fe ISD doing to ensure the safety of our children starting at the elementary schools up?
While the District’s work is not complete, the Santa Fe ISD Safe and Secure School News for August 2018 provides an overview of the Santa Fe ISD Safety and Security priorities that will be in place for the 2018-19 school year. The priorities include: Safe and Secure Schools, Policy Changes (dress code, training, communication) and Mental Health and Wellness Support Services. The overview can be found on the District’s website in the Santa Fe Strong Interactive Web Portal, www.santafeupdates.com at:
Will high school start at the same time this year, since all students are checked in through metal detectors?
Yes, the high school start and end times will not change. Santa Fe High School will start at 7:05 a.m. and will end at 2:35 p.m. The doors to the school open at 6:30 a.m. and the District’s goal is to have all students go through the metal detectors in 30 minutes. However, high school students are reminded to plan accordingly and arrive at school each morning by at least 6:45 a.m. to ensure they are in class for the start of school.
With the decision to not make changes to the dress code, what is the plan to enforce the current dress code consistently?
Before a student can enter the high school/junior high school and pass through the metal detectors, a staff member will check to make sure each student is dressed in compliance to the school’s dress code. Students are also checked in each of their class periods at the high school. A system is also in place to verify these procedures are being followed.
Some parents have purchased backpacks with bulletproof metal plates. How will these backpacks work with the metal detectors? Are there alternatives to the metal plates that you recommend?
Students wearing backpacks with bulletproof metal plates will need to remove the backpacks before entering the metal detectors. Experts recommend Cepher plates as an alternative for using metal plates in backpacks.
What Safety and Security changes are being made at all Santa Fe ISD schools, in addition to the metal detctors that are installed at each school?
With the exception of the alarm system with panic button features and the bullet resistant glass at the high school, all of the safety and security upgrades have been made at all Santa Fe ISD schools. All Santa Fe schools have security vestibules, and the two elementary schools and the junior high have perimeter fencing.
The District will continue future planning for facility upgrades at all schools. While the District’s work is not complete, the Santa Fe ISD Safe and Secure School News for August 2018 provides an overview of the Santa Fe ISD Safety and Security priorities that will be in place for the 2018-19 school year. The priorities include: Safe and Secure Schools, Policy Changes (dress code, training, communication) and Mental Health and Wellness Support Services. The overview can be found on the District’s website in the Santa Fe Strong Interactive Web Portal, www.santafeupdates.com at:
How will the perimeter doors be secured to make sure everyone must go through a metal detector?
The perimeter doors are locked, and students, staff and parents can only enter at one of the secured entrances. Further, someone is monitoring the cameras showing the perimeter doors for all schools to make sure no one attempts to enter one of the schools from an unsecured entrance. Doors at all schools have an electronic locking and notification system.
Are all of the phones in classrooms working, and do substitutes know how to use the phones?
Phones in the classrooms are working, and all staff members are trained to know how to use the phone system. Any issues with the classroom phones need to be reported to the campus administration in a timely manner so they can be repaired or replaced.
Why aren’t teachers manning the metal detectors like they do in some of the other districts?
At the high school and junior high, staff members are assisting with metal detectors and checking to see if students are in compliance with the Dress Code before they pass through the metal detectors and enter the building.
What is the source of funding for the $1.5 million being spent to improve safety and security at Santa Fe ISD schools?
The funding sources for the safety and security improvements at Santa Fe ISD schools include: District fund balance, grant funding and donations.
What determines a decision to lockdown a school or to use other safety protocols to handle various situations? How do students experience the active shooter drills and how often are they performed?
Safety is the top priority, and the District is always working to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for our students and staff.
Santa Fe ISD has implemented Standard Response Protocols which is part of a nationwide effort to simplify and standardize emergency response in schools. Students and staff are trained in accordance to this system and regular drills are conducted.
At a minimum, all SFISD campuses conduct a fire drill at least once a month. In addition to the monthly fire drills, SFISD campuses conduct at least two safety drills each year for each of the following scenarios:
- Shelter in Place — Severe Weather
- Shelter in Place — Hazardous Materials
- Shelter in Place — Medical Emergency
Who is responsible for developing, implementing and promoting safety programs for SFISD students?
The Santa Fe ISD Police are responsible for updating and maintaining the District Crisis Management Plan, including critical incident protocols and an emergency response guide for staff members. The Crisis Plan is divided into three sections that include:
- Multi-hazard crisis management plan
- Emergency Responses Guide for All Staff Members
- Critical Incident Response Plan for Selected Staff
The District provides comprehensive training for all SFISD Police Officers that includes: all SFISD police officers receive ongoing ALERRT Level One and Two training; fire arms training; secure weapon and rifle training; participate in drills with all campuses and provide training on District crisis management to all staff. In addition, the SFISD police provide Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training for the public and staff which is designed to build on the Avoid, Deny, and Defend (ADD) strategy developed by ALERRT in 2004. CRASE training provides strategies, guidance and a proven plan for surviving an active shooter event.
Ongoing Safety & Security Assessments in K-12 school Districts are required under Texas Education Code 37.108. The District is required to complete and report audit findings once every three years to the Texas School Safety Center. Santa Fe ISD plans to exceed state requirements and conduct School Safety & Security Audits on an annual basis.
Santa Fe ISD follows the model process and utilizes an audit checklist created by the Texas School Safety Center. Part of the process includes an Intruder Assessment in which all District schools and facilities are tested for perimeter security.
Every SFISD facility and campus undergo an annual audit to assess risk and vulnerabilities. Resulting data is used to make improvements upon the safety and security of the facility.
When will junior high students receive their ID badges?
Junior High students are scheduled for school pictures tomorrow, August 23, 2018. The company taking those photos will be providing the campus with student badges. The company’s goal is to have the photos processed and the badges returned to the junior high as soon as possible.
Did the Santa Fe Strong Safety and Security Committee bring forward a recommendation on whether Santa Fe ISD should consider using the state’s school marshal plan or a guardian plan to arm teachers or other civilian personnel?
No, the Safety and Security Committee could be considering the issue, but it has not been brought forward at this time as a recommendation for the 2018-19 school year.
What is the purpose of the donation of weapons, ammunition, equipment and training and other equipment that the Board of Trustees voted to accept as a donation at its Board Meeting on Monday, July 31, 2018?
The Board of Trustees accepted the weapons, ammunition, equipment and training that will be used by the Santa Fe ISD Police Department for full-time police officers for the 2018-19 school year.
What can I expect the dress code to be for my student for the 2018-2019 school year?
The Santa Fe ISD Board of Trustees made no changes to the current student dress code, but instead charged the staff and administration responsible for working with students and their families to consistently enforce the dress code at each of the schools. The input the District received from the community was split concerning the use of clear backpacks, and the Board did not vote to change the current policy requiring the use of clear backpacks. To that end, any future consideration for the use of backpacks would be discussed if donated backpacks become available for all students. We know that many of you are preparing for the start of school, and we do not want to add any financial burden to purchase backpacks.
How do I find out more information regarding the work of the Santa Fe Strong Safety and Security Committee?
The work of the Santa Fe Strong Safety and Security Committee is vital to develop meaningful and action-based recommendations to improve the District’s safety and security plans. The Santa Fe Strong Safety and Security Committee held its third meeting on July 12, 2018. The committee discussed life safety topics and recommendations for implementation for the 2018-19 school year. These recommendations will be presented to the SFISD Board of Trustees at a Special Meeting on Monday, July 16 at the Elizabeth Yaws Cowan Education Center at 5:00 p.m. Check the Santa Fe ISD Interactive Web Portal at santafeupdates.com under the SF Safety and Security Tab to read the July 12 meeting summary notes.
Who is providing support and financial assistance to the families of the victims and those injured in the tragedy at Santa Fe High School on May 18, 2018?
The Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation, in close coordination with GoFundMe, announced an agreement with the National Compassion Fund (NCF), a subsidiary of the National Center for Victims of Crime, to develop and implement a fund distribution plan to provide direct financial support to the families of those killed and injured in the horrific tragedy at Santa Fe High School on May 18, 2018. (National Compassion Fund-Santa Fe ISD Press Release)
What is the National Compassion Fund?
The National Compassion Fund (NCF), a subsidiary of the National Center for Victims of Crime, is a leading authority on how victims are compensated for loss. The NCF will advise the steering committee, assist with ongoing fundraising efforts, and administer victim application and vetting processes. The NCF will also coordinate the distribution of proceeds from the Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation’s official campaign, other fundraisers, and third-party donation sources. GoFundMe will advise the Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation and support both ongoing fundraising and distribution of proceeds to victims and their families. One hundred percent (100%) of the donations will be distributed directly to the victims and their families.
How do I make a contribution?
To make a contribution, you can donate online to the Santa Fe Strong Fund (Santa Fe Strong Fund), in-person at any Texas First Bank banking center or by mail (checks should be payable to Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation), and mailed to Texas First Bank, Santa Fe Strong Fund, P. O. Box 608, Santa Fe, TX 77510.
What support services are available for students, staff and the community?
To ensure continuity of service, the Family Assistance Center will transition to the Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center on Wednesday, May 30.
The center will continue to operate at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Wesley Hall (13217 FM1764, Santa Fe, TX 77510).
The center will be open Monday through Saturday 10 am-7 pm and Sunday 1 pm-7 pm.
Who is managing donations and support for the families?
Thank you for your questions and the outpouring of support for the families of the victims. A case management team is working directly with the families of each of the victims and providing them with the resources they need.
Where can I go to make a donation?
You may make donations at http://santafeupdates.com/donations/.
Where can I go to ask a question?
You may ask questions at http://santafeupdates.com/contact-us/.
Where can I send the media for information?
You may send media and members of the media to http://santafeupdates.com/media-requests/.
Where can I call if my child or I have information pertaining to the incident?
You may call 1-800-CALL-FBI.