Waco ISD adds security measures to improve safety

Posted at 7:24 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 22:02:32-05

The Waco Independent School District is adding additional security to its campuses.

Alta Vista Elementary, Hillcrest PDS and Lake Air Montessori will have vestibules next school year, which will prevent visitors from having access to the hallways before reaching the main office. The Waco ISD administration building will also have that added in the spring as part of the $124,000 project.

According to Alta Vista Elementary Principal Karmen Logan, there will be glass walls added near the hallways by the entrance to prevent visitors from having access to the school before reaching the entrance. 

"It helps us ensure security and be able to check with individuals what their purpose is before they come into the building before we give more access to our students," said Logan.

Other campuses, such as Waco High School, already have measures that prevent visitors from having access to the hallways before speaking to the receptionist.

"Safety is our main priority. We have over 2,000 students here," Waco High School Dean of Academies Lisa Saxenian said.

She added after 9 a.m., the main doors are locked so people have to go through the main office to gain access to the campus. 

Gretchen Eichenberg who brings lunch up to twice a week to her daughter said she feels at ease with the current system.

"It provides a barrier of protection, you don't have full access to the school until you have been vetted," Eichenberg said.

All campuses already have a buzzer entry system. At Waco ISD and Alta Vista, receptionists use a camera to check who is outside. 

"She is the one who visually sees you and you either get in or not get in," Eichenberg said.

If they don't recognize that person, they ask them to show a form of ID before they walk into the building.

At the Waco ISD administration building, all visitors and employees are prompted to show their ID before they enter the building. 

"It just puts the parents and the community at ease that we have this security in place for every campus. That's probably the biggest thing is that parents feel good about the kids being safe at the campus," said Waco ISD Assistant Superintendent of Operations Israel Carrera.

However, Eichenberg already feels at ease with the safety provided at the school.

Staff will continue to check the ID of visitors when they go into schools. Once they scan it, it alerts the receptionist if the visitor is in a sex offender registry, had a previous issue at the campus or is a volunteer.

Any government issued ID is acceptable to show, including driver's license, U.S. passport or foreign-issued IDs. 

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