At the close of the 2017-2018 school year, the Celina Board of Trustees requested an investigation into all security measures that were presently available to school districts. Superintendent of Schools Mr. Rick DeMasters and CISD Chief of Police Bobby Manson attended several workshops highlighting programs that were recommended to our district.
Research was also conducted in the form of surveys. The district surveyed not only employees, but the community at large, to collect their thoughts and/or concerns in regard to specific programs. The programs reviewed would allow specific highly trained staff members to have the ability to respond to an active shooter. Results from both surveys were overwhelmingly positive and provided the district with valuable information in regard to heightening our security measures.
Coincidentally, Governor Abbott issued a press release in June highlighting various programs, grants, and opportunities for school districts throughout the State of Texas, which included a recommendation to implement and/or increase the number of school marshals on district campuses. State law (TEC 37.0811) allows a school district to appoint one or more specially trained and licensed employees as school marshals. Candidates are required to have the appropriate licensing and certification through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). More information regarding the School Marshal Program can be found on the TCOLE website at http://tcole.texas.gov/content/schoolmarshals.
A presentation was made to the Celina ISD School Board members during their September meeting, which reviewed information collected from district and community surveys. It also outlined the requirements for candidates interested in serving the district as a school marshal. After the close of the presentation, the school board elected to approve the implementation of a School Marshals Program to increase security measures on all of our campuses. Individuals selected for this program must hold a valid License to Carry issued through the Texas Department of Public Safety and undergo an extensive interview and psychological examination prior to the 80 hours of training required for certification.
For our staff, students, families, and community members, the implementation of this program will not be obvious. In fact, the School Marshal Program maintains that the identity of the selected individuals be kept confidential unless an emergency on campus calls for them to respond. During the next few weeks, new signage is being installed on district buildings that will serve as an alert to campus visitors that selective trained staff members are prepared to provide an added layer of protection for their campuses. Statistically, students are very safe at school, but we know that violence can happen anywhere. Celina ISD takes safety and security of our students and faculty very seriously. By providing enhanced security measures, the district will continually work to eliminate any possible future threats to the safety and security of our students and staff members, who will always be our top priority!
Rick DeMasters, Superintendent