Kilgore education center hosts school safety summit

Keeping campuses safe is a goal for school administrators everywhere, and today in East Texas, a large group of them gathered to discuss that very subject.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 3:06 PM CDT
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KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - Keeping campuses safe, is a goal for school administrators everywhere, and today in East Texas, a large group of them along with law enforcement gathered to discuss that very subject, at a “school safety summit.”

Law enforcement, school superintendents and security experts met at Region 7 in Kilgore for new information and strategies to stop violence targeting schools.

“We’re discussing the causes, we’re discussing the underlying concerns and assumptions and we’re also discussing solutions,” said Region 7 school safety coordinator Dr. Paul Thompson.

In light of past shootings in Santa Fe and more recently in Uvalde, new research presented showed what may be contributing to not only the motive of shooters, but what may be contributing to an increase in the suicide rate.

“The science behind some of those things, the violent video games, sleep deprivation all of those things and what they are doing to us and doing to our kids scientifically,” said Mineola ISD superintendent Cody Mize.

“25 years ago we weren’t talking about this. Columbine changed the world forever, in terms of school safety,” said Jacksonville police chief Bill Avera.

Law enforcement and school administrators came from as far away as Center and Lufkin to participate in the summit, hoping to gain new information on how to best defend and protect schools from violent acts.

“When parents and guardians send their kids to school, their safety has to be our number one priority. Such as having armed staff members in your district. We have several of those,” Mize says.

“Having officers on the property, at the schools is the first line of defense,” Avera says.

Some school districts have employed the “guardian plan,” referenced by Chief Avera, which is to have voluntarily armed and trained staff within the districts as a line of defense.