Valley School Districts Review Emergency Operations Plans In Wake of Newtown Tragedy

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 8:42am

MISSION - La Joya ISD Police Chief Raul Gonzalez works hard everyday to keep 37 schools safe along the dangerous border. But the mass killings in Newtown, Connecticut told Chief Gonzalez one thing.

"That is, it could happen anywhere and that we need to be alert and that we need to go back and review our safety nets," said Chief Gonzalez.

And those safety checks are being done today. Currently this district meets with teachers every semester and runs a variety of drills each month. The goal is to make sure everyone knows what to do for any type of emergency.

"Administrators walk the halls to make sure everything that is supposed to be in place is in place. In case somebody wasn't there or forgot a certain step, we kind of give them feedback," said Gabriel Velasquez, School Counselor.

But one of the safety biggest concerns might mean having to move a few bricks.

"One of the things that we looked at is the layout of our facilities. They were not built to where safety was the first priority originally," said Gonzalez about old school buildings. But this isn't the case with new buildings.

"Anytime we construct or we build a new school. We always look at safety, the first thing we look at is how can we protect the kids and the staff," said Gonzalez.

Every new school, like Mendiola Elementary,  comes with new safety features.

Along with cameras monitoring all the hallways and all the entrances, there are also two sets of doors that people have to go through to even get into the school.

Gonzalez said safety improvements to safety will never stop.

"As we continue to see events that are a tragic nature to our kids, we will continue to improve," said Gonzalez.

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