The Clear Creek Independent School District’s security council Monday recommended increased law enforcement presence, student and staff badges and a trench coat ban, among other steps, to improve school security after the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School.
The committee recommended adding 15 additional Galveston County Sheriff’s Department school liaison officers and additional mental health counselors for a total of 30 new positions at a cost of about $2.5 million, Superintendent Greg Smith said.
The recommendations are the committee’s first since forming shortly after a gunman killed 10 and wounded more than a dozen others at Santa Fe High School.
“The reality is that this is where we are,” Smith said. “This will send the message that we are going to have school, and no one is going to come and do harm to our students and staff.”
Clear Creek is among several Galveston County school districts that formed security committees after the shooting. Galveston and Santa Fe, among others, have announced similar committees.
Interest in serving on the committee was high, with more than 800 parents volunteering for the group that has met five times, officials said.
The group investigated several aspects of school security, including facility improvements, security personnel, student mental health, security training, safety protocols, policies and procedures and communications, board members said.
In addition to increased security and mental health positions, the committee also recommended re-evaluating the district’s dress code — mentioning a trench coat ban specifically — and recommending adding a requirement for students and staff to wear identification badges at all times on campus, said Henry Gonzalez, a member of the committee.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the accused shooter in the mass killing at Santa Fe High School, might have been in violation of a school district dress code when he wore a trench coat on campus May 18, according to some accounts. Santa Fe officials have declined to answer questions about that assertion.
Monday’s recommendations were preliminary and will be reviewed at a town hall meeting July 16 before returning to the board of trustees July 23 for final approval, Smith said.
The committee still was considering several controversial options as of late Monday, committee members said.
The group did not have recommendations for the board of trustees about whether to install metal detectors, for example, and told trustees it did not advise implementing the marshal or guardian plans in the district. Those plans allow school districts to train and arm staff members.
“We recommend not implementing them because of a lack of state regulations and training,” said Richard Rennison, another member of the committee. “It’s not feasible at this point.”