Texas school security increases following Uvalde shooting

Safety procedures have been updated on campus


Alex Whelchel

New buttons have been added to the front office doors to be let in.

Alex Whelchel, Staff Writer

New safety procedures implemented after the Uvalde school shooting greeted students and teachers as they arrived back to school on Aug. 23. With 21 lives lost and thousands grief-stricken, Gov. Greg Abbott mandated new policies to ensure the safety of everyone on campus’ around Texas. 

“Though we have all made significant progress (in regards to safety), even one failure is unacceptable,” Abbott said in a letter to the Texas School Safety Center.

At the forefront of these new safety procedures is the locked door policy in which all outside and inside doors are required to be locked at all times. Although keeping the doors locked isn’t completely foreign to Smithson Valley, the manner of how it’s getting done is.

“In previous years, we had to make sure all doors were locked, and it was just us (campus deputies), and (John) Bell (campus security),” deputy Daniel Valenzuela said. “but now everyone’s involved.”

While administration is greatly involved in school safety, campus deputies are also big contributors to protection. Though their jobs do tend to overlap in some aspects, there are also major differences in the deputy’s and admin’s jobs. 

“We deal more with the legal aspect of it,” deputy Leopoldo Estrada said. “So, when it comes down to people breaking the law, we deal with it. While administration deals more with IDs (identification cards) and dress code.” 

Comal ISD is no stranger to safety procedures as they are a test district for the state of Texas under the Texas School Safety Center. 

“What they do (TxSSC) is try different techniques by having SROs (school resource officers) in schools,” Valenzuela said. “They receive grants to implement different safety precautions, and if they work, then they adapt it to other schools in the state.”  

To ensure all these precautions are being followed, the deputies, along with campus security guard John Bell and assistant principal Russell Doege will be making rounds between classes to check that doors are properly locked. During these rounds, they will also be on the lookout for anyone not wearing an ID, and respond accordingly if someone does not have one.

With the victims of Uvalde still fresh on our minds, it’s important to remember that although the precautions can be bothersome, they are put in place to prevent another tragedy like this from happening. 

“Safety and security is the No. 1 priority at Smithson Valley High School.” Principal Michael Wahl said in his weekly newsletter to parents. “We want students to know that we will keep SVHS a safe campus.