LISD installs metal detectors at all campuses

School safety continues to be the top priority at Laredo Independent School District. Every morning, prior to class, Martin High School security and trained administration personnel conduct safety sweeps with its latest security tool, the Garrett Multi Zone Walk-Through Metal Detectors. 

As of today, all LISD secondary schools have two to three metal detectors placed at their main points of entry. Additionally, all LISD elementary schools currently have one walk-through metal detector at their entrance. Every visitor, student, or administrator entering these campuses has to go through the daily process of safety checks. No weapons, metals of any kind, vapes, unauthorized equipment, glass, etc. are allowed on school premises.

LISD Health and Occupational Safety Support Services Executive Director Oscar Perez applauds the efforts MHS is currently placing by setting a great example to follow. “It's becoming a standard operating procedure so we're very proud of Martin High School. They have embarked on this journey to implement the metal detector sweeps on a daily basis. They are taking the lead for our district as to what the expectations are to provide for the safety and security of all of our students and our employees. We're very fortunate that the Garrett Metal Detector Company has noticed the fact that not only did we purchase and install the metal detectors but that the training that a lot of our employees have gone through is being administered.”

The district is operating Multi Zone Walk-through Metal Detectors that provide precise location of one or more objects simultaneously. Multiple targets are indicated on both walk-through panels simultaneously via bright LED zone indicators. It has an optimum performance of more than 15 application programs engineered to address the needs of the schools.

LISD is taking the lead on ensuring the safety and security of its students and staff. Perez explains how the district is enforcing these preventative measures not as a post or reactive situation but rather a daily high-alert layer of protection. Furthermore, safety is a critical part in an instructional day so participants are able to learn and focus on educational strategies being taught. 

As an extra precaution, any visitor stepping on school premises must enter through the main entryway, sign in, and show a government-issued form of identification that goes through the Raptor system, a visitor management system that enhances school security by reading a visitor's drivers’ license (or other approved ID), comparing information against a sex offender database to alert school administrators and District police if a match is found. Once cleared through the system, a visitor badge is produced that includes a photo, name of the visitor, date & time, and destination.

“I feel like with these new precautions the students feel a lot safer and we're more encouraged to come to school everyday,” MHS Sophomore Athena Ponce said. “I think the integrity of a healthy learning environment is being kept up at Martin High and all of our students are able to focus on our education.” 

As the new safety sweeps have been implemented at MHS, students expressed concern over being tardy to their first period. MHS Senior Laisha Gonzalez expresses how this concern affects her morning instruction. “As a student that likes to get to school early, it is a little problem and a little concerning, however our teachers are very understanding. They always make sure that we don't miss any important information. The teachers are always willing to help out and make sure we don’t miss out on our lectures.”

Administrative personnel assisting on these safety sweeps are trained by the company itself. Inside Sales for Garrett Metal Detectors Michael Womack addresses the free virtual online training academy they offer as part of understanding the equipment to the best of its abilities. “Anybody can go, take the class, and learn how to use it. It produces a certificate that goes through all of the aspects of what you need to do from setting it up to reprogramming it to troubleshooting it to tips and tricks on how to maximize its efficiency. We have staff that's available that you can call to get questions answered. We’re here to help.”

Laredo ISD is ahead of its curve with 362 participants certified to use the Multizone and Handheld Wands. “I talked to school districts nationwide, every single day, and Laredo is ahead of almost every school district. They have a plan. They have an idea. They have a commitment to the kids and to the security that not every school district in the nation has. Parents, teachers, and students at LISD should be confident that they've got a good group helping them out when it comes to school safety,” stated Womack.

LISD’s Health & Occupational Safety Support Services Department works to accomplish the goal to provide a safe, secure, and healthy learning environment designed to nurture positive academic, social, and life skills development for students and staff.

As a concerned older sister with younger siblings, Gonzalez belives the implemented safety procedures at MHS makes her feel at ease. She states that after the tragic event that occurred at Uvalde, Texas Robb Elementary School, she does feel safer going to school. “When the tragedy happened so close to home it did make me feel weary as I do have younger siblings, however I do believe our district, and our school overall, provides different safety procedures that can prevent situations. I feel a lot more comfortable that they're making sure our students are safe and overall help us come to school with a positive mentality knowing that we're being taken care of.”

“At the beginning, there were some concerns and people were hesitant. We’ve always had the wands, but it’s very different than having the walk-through metal detectors. I thank LISD for investing in our students and campuses to keep everybody safe. I know it’s a work in progress,” Martin High School Principal Mario Mireles. “I’ve seen it myself. The students feel safer, the faculty feels safer, the community feels safer. At the beginning, the questions were ‘what is going on and why are you doing this’ and now it is ‘what can we do to help.’”