Multi-Faceted Security Program Instituted at Lovejoy ISD
When the doors opened August 20, 2018, for the 2018-19 school year, Lovejoy ISD rolled out a new multi-faceted safety and security program. The program includes elements that will include technology, hardware, personnel and relationships.
Dan Buholtz is the newly hired Director of Safety and Security. Ted Moore, LISD Superintendent said, “We are very fortunate to have filled this position with a person who has the depth of experience that Dan has.” Buholtz has been in the Marines Special Forces, international security and law enforcement. In addition to the creation of the Director of Safety and Security positions, LISD created a hybrid position of school guardians who are school marshal licensed. There will be three school guardians and three school resource officers (SRO) this year at LISD. Each LISD school has been assigned one of these responders.
Before this year, there was controlled access to buildings, some video surveillance and an off-duty officer at events such as football games and graduation. There was also one SRO for the entire ISD who spent the majority of their time at LHS. Fairview police officers were also at schools for traffic control.
Each school has been issued a hand held metal detector. Every door at each campus has been numbered. Some safety and security measures will not be disclosed.
Three counselors have been hired to scope out at risk students as well as provide after event care if needed. Moore said that many behaviors of concern are found on social media. A monitoring software is now being utilized which will look for behavior concerns using social media algorithms. LISD administration requests anyone who has knowledge of a behavior concern to notify the school, principal or counselor.
Another security tool added to all LISD schools is MadeSafe. MadeSafe was designed by Enseo. Enseo was founded in 2000 by a Lovejoy parent, Vanessa Ogle. MadeSafe was developed four years ago. At that time, schools were not interested in the product, but the hospitality industry was.” Housekeepers wear MadeSafe as a “…means of summoning help in the face of a crime, sexual assault or emergency.” (Enseo.com)
Six weeks before school started, LISD contacted Ogle after Puster Elementary principal, Kevin Parker read an article in D Magazine which featured Ogle. The D Magazine article led Parker and Ogle to have a conversation in which SafeMade was discussed. Parker is a member of the safety commission for LISD and introduced the idea to the group. LISD met with Enseo, and five weeks before school started they placed the order. Ogle said, “They knew what they wanted. When they found it, they moved at the speed of light.” She added, “We are so passionate about this program. We would do anything to maximize this partnership and serve this community.” Moore said, “Enseo went above and beyond to make this functioning when school began.”
“MadeSafe uses a patented combination of Internet of Things (IoT), networking and cloud computing to provide immediate notification of an incident or threat and accurate location of the alert to enable a quick response from school staff. Alerts could include a medical emergency, student altercation or encounter with a suspicious or dangerous person on campus. Each employee is issued a wearable alert button that works with technology deployed throughout the school to create a high-resolution detection grid. When the button is pressed, MadeSafe notifies first responders with an employee’s specific location by displaying the location of the alert on a 3D map of the school as well as sending a text and email to designated staff.” (Enseo.com)
Ogle has been very hands-on during the LISD training process. She wants to hear from this environment and field the questions. She said she has received many words of appreciation from LISD staff stating, “I feel more secure than I ever have.” Answering why MadeSafe is a good addition to LISD’s security plan, Buholtz said, “It develops a peace of mind for the staff. Responders arrive on scene within minutes. The teachers are trained and the responders show up.” Each staff member at each school has a MadeSafe alert system.
Since school began, the alert system has been activated four times: One alert was an accidental activation by a custodian working in the evening. Twice for behavioral discipline issues when the teacher felt the safety of the child, other students and/or teacher were at risk. One alert was made because of a medical issue. When the alert is activated during school hours, a response team at each school responds. Ogle points out that in addition to all the security this system offers, it alleviates the necessity of a teacher asking a student to get assistance in the time of emergency.
Moore said that LISD made the decision long ago to look at different safety strategies for students and staff. They studied options that other schools and corporations had implemented. The safety committee had developed a list of priorities that would allow LISD to increase security but still offer a warm and loving environment for the kids. He feels that they are prepared to develop a nationwide safety model for K-12 that is currently non-existent.