Texas School Security: Intruder Detection audits underway to determine ease of entry for unauthorized persons

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) — With school security still preoccupying many parents, experts are working to find out how easily an unauthorized person can get into your child’s school.

Intruder detection audits are underway across Texas.

“We’re trying to see if we can gain unsecured, unauthorized access to a campus because we know locked doors present a time barrier and time barriers save lives,” Kathy Martinez-Prather, the director of the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University , said.

Martinez-Prather said that following the Uvalde tragedy, Gov. Greg Abbott hired them to conduct spot inspections of school campuses across Texas to see how easily an unauthorized person could enter. She said the unannounced visits began on September 12 and hundreds of audits have happened so far.

SEE ALSO: Texas School Safety Center Defends Delays in Accountability

She said the “intruder detection” audits are not as worrisome as their name might sound.

“We’re not sending inspectors to go in and simulate an intrusion. They are in plain clothes, they are not armed, (and) they will not attempt to forcefully and aggressively enter a campus,” Martinez-Prather said.

The audits also address visitor check-in and check-out procedures and ensure districts conduct weekly exterior doors.

So you may be wondering how the Houston area counties fared at these security checks. Details are not known to us for security reasons.

Spring ISD said they had three of those audits, with results on two of them. The district said the cause of each finding has been addressed.

Other local districts, including HISD, said they are not currently releasing information about the audits.

According to Martinez-Prather, the random inspections will continue through the end of this school year and they will compile a report on the trends found.

SEE ALSO: “Wow”: The lack of school safety audit tracking leaves lawmakers all but speechless

“I think this is part of the bigger puzzle, but it’s fundamental, it’s fundamental and it can have a significant impact on saving lives when we think about access control,” Martinez-Prather said.

So what else can we do? Parents, she says, can also help hold districts accountable.

“Parents, we need to educate them. ‘No, you won’t be able to see the contingency plan directly, that’s a security issue’, but you can ask those other questions. Is it checked annually? Who checks this? Emergency response plan?” Martinez-Prather explained.

This is part of the plan to work together towards safer schools in Texas.

“I think we’re at a point now where we know we can’t 100% prevent these situations, but if all these elements work together comprehensively, we can prevent them in most cases,” Martinez said – said prather

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Russell Falcon

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