J.R. “Rusty” Norman, president of Santa Fe’s public school district, told a Senate panel Tuesday that Texas schools need more money to pay for the security enhancements made after the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School.

“We’re dealing with parents and students that have a very heightened fear because of the fact that we had an incident in Santa Fe,” Norman said during testimony to the Senate Committee on Education. “We’re having to do things to try to instill that trust that we’re actively working to provide the safest educational experience for our students and staff.

“Obviously, this requires money.”

Santa Fe ISD spent more than $2 million on security at its school buildings and to hire security staff and counselors after the shooting. Most of those new hires were paid for with grant money and the school district needs help paying for investments it made, however, Norman said.

He pointed specifically to the security personnel that man the metal detectors that were donated to the district after the shooting that left 10 dead and 14 injured.

“All the security folks that we have hired are to work those metal detectors,” Norman said. “If we cannot continue to fund those type things, we’ll be forced to make some decisions on priorities that could be up to and including removing those metal detectors.”

Norman testified a day after state Sen. Larry Taylor, of Friendswood, filed Senate Bill 11, which proposes a raft of changes to school safety measures in Texas.

The wide-ranging bill would increase access to mental health resources in Texas schools, would require that substitute teachers be trained for emergency situations and would make school districts create “threat assessment teams” that would identify young people who might pose a threat.

It also includes an unspecified amount of money out of the state’s rainy day fund to help pay schools for safety improvements.

Taylor’s bill incorporates much of the language in two bills state Rep. Greg Bonnen filed last month. Taylor’s bill has already been introduced and had a hearing, which might mean it’s the one that moves through the remainder of the legislative session.

Norman told senators they shouldn’t make a “one-size-fits-all bill” that tries to get all school districts to act the same way when it comes to school safety.

“We’re going to have to have some flexibility,” he said.

Texas City ISD Superintendent Rodney Cavness and Executive Director of Security and School Safety Michael Matranga also spoke on the panel.

DISASTER BILLS

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and a group of Texas senators introduced a trio of high-priority bills related to Hurricane Harvey. The bills propose ways to improve disaster recovery in the future, and ways to pay for the ongoing recovery from the August 2017 storm.

Among other things, the bills would create a state disaster relief fund and would make state money available for cities to use to pay for the local costs of federal recovery projects.

The bills would take some $3 billion from the state’s rainy day fund to refund state agencies for money they spent during the storm, and to compensate school districts whose property tax revenues fell because of the hurricane.

The bills are the first major proposals to come out of the legislature to address disaster recovery after the storm.

The authors of the bills, who came from Harvey-devastated districts, say the proposals reflect lessons learned in the 18 months of the storm.

“We heard you,” said state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, of Brenham. “We’re with you and we’re not going to leave you.”

Notebook

The Texas Senate on Wednesday confirmed Friendswood attorney Jared Robinson as judge of Galveston County’s 405th District Court. Gov. Greg Abbott nominated Robinson last month. ... A bill filed in the Texas Legislature on Wednesday would make walking quorums by elected officials illegal. The bill comes after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals struck down part of the Texas Open Meetings Act involving walking quorums last week. ... There are 83 days left in the Texas Legislative session. ... There are 58 days until the May 4 local Election Day.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

(38) comments

Rusty Schroeder

A girl and her dog walked right past your security and into the High School hallways, fix the personnel problem Rusty. If you don't use what you were given properly, and actually address the issue with security, then your asking for more of the same is silent to most.

Carlos Ponce

Rusty, the system worked as it should. The woman was immediately confronted and arrested.

Robert Waggoner

She got in to prove a point and will have to pay for that, but it proves that the system was faulty. Once in, anyone doing so could have done some damage, even if confronted. Let's not sugar coat it and say the system worked. It was a faulty system for whatever reason.

Carlos Ponce

Was the system faulty?
Woman enters Santa Fe High School and goes through a metal detector.
Instead of going left to the visitor's window she enters the hallway - just a few steps. Security notices no visible ID badge nor visitor's pass and stops her immediately. Security confirms she is not a student, nor a staff member and has no business at the school. After further questioning she is arrested.
Maybe as the woman (Haley Zieber- SFHS Class of 2013) suggests, "the officer should have shot her to keep her from coming into the school". Would that be better?
No sugar coating - just facts. The system worked.

Jim Forsythe

"Woman enters Santa Fe High School and goes through a metal detector."
What good was the metal detectors operators if they did not stop her, or were there no one manning them?
I was under the impression that the goal is to keep out anyone that does not belong in the school .
If the goal is to allow anyone into the school before asking questions, they have lost the battle.

Robert Waggoner

She walked into the school and at any time once in she or anyone wanting to do damage or harm could have done some damage. Timing is irrelevant at that point. For this she'll possibly have to pay. Let's not sugar coat it by saying the system worked. She got in the school. If the system worked, then it was faulty for whatever reason.

Carlos Ponce

She went through the metal detector. Nothing detected. No weapon found. Was the dog was her weapon? No sugar coating. The system worked. I have friends who are staff members at Santa Fe High School and a close relative who will be graduating this year, Santa Fe Class of 2019. They all say the system worked. I talked with them, I listened. I did not jump to unfounded conclusions.

George Croix

No, unless the system was designed to allow people into a building even when they tripped a metal detector, l then it failed.
Does your home security system work if the bad guy is INSIDE before you know it, or before you can prevent his entry.
No.
FAILURE.
First step in solving a problem is to admit there was one, and move on.
UNLESS, as I said, the idea of 'security' is to simply KNOW that someone unauthorized is in the building then go hunt for them. In which case, it's better than nothing, but not as good as it was sold to be...........

Jim Forsythe

"She went through the metal detector. Nothing detected." Was she ID at that time or did they just let her wonder were she want.
Badge readers are important to maintain who is in a building and who is not. If they can not tell who is in the school, they have no Security.

Carlos Ponce

Jim, she did not respond to metal detector monitors telling her to stop. So they got a SFISD Security officer to stop her. We're talking about just a few feet. It's not like she was waltzing down the hallway unimpeded with her dog.Think about it this way - a police officer only issues a ticket AFTER you pass the red traffic light, not before.

George Croix

Carlos, that red light is not designed to detect or having done so detain a driver intentionally bent on running it. It's just an indicator of a need to comply with a rule or law. Same as a sign AT a metal detector would be saying "All visitors must pass through metal detector."
There is zero physical deterrent in play to make that happen with only a light or a sign.
Time is THE most relevant security issue.
Time to stop an armed intruder prior to entry is at the point of entry.
Having failed at that, time to respond to the intruder inside the point of entry.
Then time to determine the correct response force and application to direct at the intruder.
If an armed intruder is met by an unarmed entry monitor, then time for someone who can handle the situation to show up.
Time. Time.. Time...
It's ALL about time....having failed to stop entry in a timely manner, then every second after that is a second with potential for negative consequences.
I can fire 13 rounds of unaimed .45ACP in just over 3 seconds and aimed, with hits , in about 5, all day long. And I'm 68 years old!! And slow!!
It's no different at all with emergency response of any type. Prevention having failed, and an emergency situation in progress, time of response and time to securing the situation is paramount to limit if not prevent negative effects.
If that woman had a shotgun instead of a dog she could have, if not immediately challenged, emptied it before being detained, even if only a few feet inside. Even if standing IN the detector.
Rusty Norman is one of the people I liked most from out at the Refinery. He and I shared some...interesting...locales together, at least one of which had us wading in foam covered benzene floating on knee high water and hosing down multiple burning, externally, furnaces a few feet away, for several hours, and I did not put myself in such places with people I did not trust and respect.
It's not personal.
It's a fact that the situation was a security failure IF the intention is to keep problems OUTSIDE.
Detection followed by confrontation/apprehension, versus prevention....they are NOT the same thing.
A decision must be made as to what level of security will be affordable to the ISD and what will be tolerated by the people who have to come onto campus for legitimate reasons.
Security at the prevention level of nearly all incidents (NOTHING is 100%...nothing...)is very expensive and very restrictive.
It is a situation where there is cake, or eating, but rarely both.....

Rusty Schroeder

Carlos, you are wrong. No, it did not, quit being a excuse hound for the district. You have keys to a school building don't you? I know exactly what happened, the police report and the woman that was ill that day and her shift was taken over by someone else performing "double duty". She should have NEVER, got inside the school. She should have been seen on the monitors and confronted outside the front doors. 700 cameras Carlos, they are no better than 1 if nobody is watching the monitors supplying their recordings. We are no better than May 18th, just a lot of travel expenses, national media exposure, and excuses. Meanwhile we are awaiting a trial for the 10 killed, that is truth and reality you cannot deny.

Carlos Ponce

" You have keys to a school building don't you?" No, i do not.
"She should have NEVER, got inside the school. She should have been seen on the monitors and confronted outside the front doors."
Are parents who are there to sign out their children "confronted outside the front doors"? No! Are those with legitimate business at the school confronted OUTSIDE the building? No.Unless there is a court order to prevent that person from entering the front door they are not "confronted" outside the building - NO ONE IS AT ANY SCHOOL.
Rusty, I suggest you talk to a SFISD security officer with your concerns. They, the SFHS staff and SFISD school board take the security of the school seriously and have made every effort to insure the safety of all involved.
Procedure for ANYBODY entering SFHS:
Approach the building.
ENTER through the front doors.
Go through the metal detector.
If visiting go to the side window on the left. This she did not do.
If you can verify official presence at the school a "Visitor's Pass" is issued by scanning your driver's license.
Then you do your business and leave.
Confront everyone approaching the building????? No.
Think of the County Courthouse. Is anyone "confronted" before entering the metal detector foyer? Not unless there is a legal reason for doing so.

George Croix

"Approach the building.
ENTER through the front doors.
Go through the metal detector.
If visiting go to the side window on the left. This she did not do.
If you can verify official presence at the school a "Visitor's Pass" is issued by scanning your driver's license.
Then you do your business and leave."

That is not every effort at security.
That is the level of it chosen by the ISD based on whatever criteria they had - whether cost or logistics or public input or some of that or all...,,which is understandable when limitless money and resources and cooperation are not available.
If in actual real life EVERY effort at security was made:
1) Nobody could approach the building without having first entered a remote/fence line restricted entry location with security supervision at that point equipped to address and confront and stop threats.
2) Nobody could get through the front doors into the building without the above, if item one was breached.
3) Nobody could get past the metal detector without the above, if items 1 and 2 were failures.
4) Someone at that point could go to the side window and shoot the person there then continue on if 1,2,3 failed.
5) A determined intruder doesn''t CARE about a visitors pass or a license scan.
6) Then the 'business' is active, and will only stop once direct and forceful intervention has been made, all the previous 5 points having failed.
That's why nothing is 100%.. ALL can be breached by a person determined to do so, but chances decrease greatly with an armed, trained, motivated resistance to unauthorized entry at ALL points. Backing up each with the next as needed.

Lacking all of that, the place, any place, is relatively secure, to whatever degree acceptable to the occupants.
The example of the county courthouse....OK, what keeps anyone from walking through the front door and opening fire on the deputies and people inside in front of the metal detectors....??/
Nothing physical.
Mentally knowing they'll get shot shortly after they start might deter the semi-sane....

There is a GREAT need everywhere to stop with the 'secure facility' sky pie and the 'cover our but_s" BS and admit/explain/and prepare as best as possible with what is available to work with.
The 'leaders' must learn that admitting a problem is the first step to greater security, and the people demanding that security must pony up and accept the limitations of it.
There's ZERO use in demanding perfection from anyone or anything where it cannot exist....

Carlos Ponce

George, your description sounds like entering a State Penitentiary, not a public school. Not even the County Courthouse has that that type of system.

Jim Forsythe

George, good post and even with all that you outlined, someone can do harm. It also makes me thankful for the security we had at the refinery. If our children are not worth the extra steps that would help make them safer, I do not know what is.

George Croix

Carlos, if one wants to keep talking about 'security' rather than the more accurate in the context 'relative level of security' then go right ahead, but SECURITY means there's little if any chance of a miscreant breaching/entering/harming, and what the schools have, or, for that matter, the County Criminal Justice Building has, is a relative level of security, because as just ONE reason for the differentiation a person can get inside the front doors of both places without even having been first searched either electronically or by a person, and thus possibly be carrying with them...anything....
Correct me anybody if that's not correct.
Anybody?
Anybody?
Problem is the same thing that makes us a great country...freedom....
People will not willingly tolerate being inconvenienced one bit more than absolutely necessary, no matter how much they protest that's not so publicly, and then they can't even all decide what IS necessary....so absent a setting like a penitentiary or nuke facility or such where nobody CARES about our inconvenience and where money is no object and use of a LOT of force when in the slightest doubt won't support a lawsuit, we get a level of security that is a compromise. Usually works.
I'm not saying the schools, or Justice Center, are unsafe, just that they are not and cannot be 99% safe without much more extreme measures than they employ/can afford/people will tolerate.....the 1% is a hedge as NOTHING is totally secure against everything....
So, the ISD Board does not deserve to be exclusively beat up on over the woman/dog intrusion...a lot of fingers were in that security plan pie......
In a nutshell, leadership is more about admitting there's a failure at some level and room to improve and going after that than it is about being correct all the time or claiming to be or worrying about offending someone ......
It's only about covering one's Bhind if they lead in name. not in dead....

Carlos Ponce

Jim, talk to the parents of SFHS students and see what they think about the current system. I have. There is such a thing as "too much" even when it is for the protection of their children according to them.

George Croix

Jim, the refinery was relatively safe from entry, but what do you suppose a guy like either one of us, with our knowledge of how the place worked and what was where, could do without ever even getting near the fenceline???
Yep...Spooky.
And just like this subject we're discussing, that relative safety is also because nobody got actually searched or had a wand run over them unless there was some specific reason for suspicion.
Well, enough from me......I just hate to see expectations higher than reality says they should be......it causes complacency and/or hard feelings .....

George Croix

Dead?

Deed.........

Not close enough...

Jim Forsythe

Carlos, if they are happy with the amount of security they have, good for them. I guess you talked to all to come to the conclusion, that they are all happy. Higher levels of security does have to be much of a change to what they are doing now. They are not at "too much" security, and have to go a long way to be at "too much".
Please define what is "too much" security is.

Carlos Ponce

Jim posts, "... if they are happy with the amount of security they have, good for them."
The parents and students I spoke to are not happy. They think the current school climate is not conducive to learning. They would prefer the security be dialed back or changed so they don't feel tension every time they enter the school. They feel "punished" for the actions of one nut job who thank God is locked away.

Jim Forsythe

The problem is that it is not just "one nut job" but many more that have not acted yet, or it could be a group next time. What security do they (you) want to do away with?
Are you talking about going back to the level before the event? If what you say is true, why is “Rusty” Norman asking for more money to continue with what they have now? Is he not telling the truth when he said "“We’re dealing with parents and students that have a very heightened fear because of the fact that we had an incident in Santa Fe", He did not say "the current school climate is not conducive to learning" but is asking to keep it at the same level or better.


Carlos Ponce

Jim posts," not just 'one nut job' but many more that have not acted yet. Granted the student population was smaller in years past but in the 90 previous years there were no shootings. There were students with firearms on campus and an armed principal.
"What security do they (you) want to do away with?" Remove metal detectors, a well trained dog or dogs would serve dual purposes - sniff out weapons and illegal substances. If anyone is intimidated by their presence, they go on the suspect list.
"...why is “Rusty” Norman asking for more money to continue with what they have now? " He is asking money for OTHER things like money for security staff and counselors that will be used up when the grant runs out, training for substitutes, “threat assessment teams”, etc.
"Is he not telling the truth when he said ...." He is truthful but those parents had a knee jerk reaction in response without thinking about the academic consequences of that reaction.

Jim Forsythe

"90 previous years there were no shootings" stopped May 19, 2018.
What happened in the 50's,60's and the 70's is not what we have to deal with now.
Just as George said, what you are talking about will let them into the schools, with a bad outcome.Unless the dogs are outside intruders will be in the school (dogs may be first target ). The money for the dogs will come from where? They cost about $15,000 each too be trained to the level you are taking about! One dog for each school will not be enough. Add in the cost of the handlers and the training required for the handlers.
I do not think that Rusty is out of touch with the parents, as I'm sure he has answered many phone calls.

If some one is afraid of a dog, they would be placed on the "suspect list". People that suffer with Cynophobia and people who are allergic to dogs will show fear. Placing a children on a "suspect list" could be against the Children with disabilities act.

Carlos Ponce

"What happened in the 50's,60's and the 70's is not what we have to deal with now."
ONE student out of tens of thousands, Jim.
And I did not post "scared of the dog". I posted INTIMIDATED by the dog. BIG DIFFERENCE, HUUUUUUUUGE DIFFERENCE!

Jim Forsythe

Can you guarantee that he is the only one! Of course you can not. Security is not base on you had one event, now do not worry, it will not happen again. Ball High had a student with a gun, since the incident in Santa Fe.
The number of mass shooting at schools has increased with each passing year. You posted "ONE student out of tens of thousands" only talks to the one that acted, not to the one that may or will.
As far as "scared of the dog". a person with Cynophobia are fearful of all dogs because they have a TRUE FEAR OF ALL DOGS. If someone is allergic to dogs they are fearful to get to close to them because they do not want to have a attract, because they are allergic to dogs
Cynophobia comes from the Greek words that mean “dog” (cyno) and “fear” (phobia). A person who has cynophobia experiences a fear of dogs that’s both irrational and persistent.
From Webster's.
Definition of intimidate
transitive verb
: to make timid or fearful : frighten

Carlos Ponce

Consider the number of students in Galveston County and Texas, Jim. Why aren't ALL GC public schools going to metal detectors? By your way of thinking they should all have them. And not just the high schools, and not just the public schools. Protecting students is upmost but one needs to take a practical approach and that includes costs.
As far as walking by the dog, give them two options. Either walk by the dog or go through a separate metal detector. It's good to get over unfounded phobias. We once had drug dogs at HHS - very effective.
The intimidation I inferred was fear - fear they would be CAUGHT, not fear of the dog. Big difference as observed.

Jim Forsythe

We are discussing one school District, not all of GC. Hope they do not reduce the security they have in place.
People that suffer with Cynophobia do not care what the dog is doing, as they fear the dog not the task.
Cynophobia is not some unfounded phobia that one can get over by being exposed to a dog. People with Cynophobia will have some or all of these physical symptoms. Dizziness and feeling faint, disoriented,Excess sweating,Shaking and trembling,Nausea and gastrointestinal distress,Dry mouth, feeling of choking or difficulty in swallowing,Freezing,Running away, Crying.
They will also have psychological symptoms such as Having thoughts of dying ,Feeling like losing control or going crazy,Inability to distinguish between reality and unreality ,Trying to avoid situations which bring confrontation with a dog.

Carlos Ponce

"We are discussing one school District, not all of GC. Hope they do not reduce the security they have in place."
You insist that a similar incident may happen again in Santa Fe yet refuse to even consider that it may happen in Ball High, La Marque, High Island, Texas City, Hitchcock, Dickinson, O'Connell, etc. Really?????
And I already posted that if they don't want to walk past the doggie they get an ALTERNATIVE treatment.
At Santa Fe's Homecoming 2018 I noticed they brought out two Golden Retrievers onto the field during halftime festivities. I was told they were "comfort dogs" the students were familiar with. So they already have dogs serving a different purpose on that campus.
Fort Bend ISD has two several candidates selected as finalists for Secondary Teacher of the year. One is my nephew (Santa Fe Valedictorian Class of 2005) who teaches math at Clements High School. He is up against another Santa Fe graduate (Class of 1994) who teaches in a FBISD Middle School. She keeps a comfort dog in her classroom.
As they say at Hitchcock High School, "Let the dogs out!"

George Croix

Why remove an unmanned metal detector??
Just turn it off and leave it in place until it can be manned. No different than a sudden operator absenteeism plague...

Jim Forsythe

The other question I have is who can man the metal detector. Can it be someone other than a police officer which would reduce the cost if it was volunteer the cost would be a lot less, but would that be legal.?

George Croix

Jim, ANYONE can man a metal detector. A 5 year old could man one, and sing out if it beeps.
The issue is not who is capable of manning one, but who is capable of doing something about it of a problem is detected. If it's an armed attempted entry, the problem is multiplied to armed response.
What has to be decided is what level the public is willing to put up with, and pay for.....
It's the exact same problem it was last year, this year, and will be every year, always, everywhere.........

George Croix

Of course, don't forget, it's also possible for anyone to approach the metal detector and start a security problem from outside of it, directed into the building proper, including at the detector monitor.
Another reason why, when possible, practical, affordable, and the public will put up with it, the best first line of defense is REMOTE from the place(s) to be protected, at a fenceline inhibiting multi-point entry.
The experts know that, too, but have to do the best they can with the resources and politics in play, so compromises are made.

Robert Waggoner

If the system wasn't faulty, then why ask for money to enhance a system that allowed a person to enter a school that was suppose to work? If the system was allowed that way, then it worked. If the system was meant to keep people out, it didn't work. It just slowed the process. Maybe that was acceptable to some, but from what I've read and heard, that has a lot of people unhappy that it happened. IMO it's faulty.

Carlos Ponce

"If the system wasn't faulty, then why ask for money to enhance a system that allowed a person to enter a school that was suppose to work?"
No where in the article is mentioned that the money is needed to enhance the "system that allowed a person to enter a school that was suppose to work".
There are other priorities not addressed by the metal detectors nor the entry security system that needs to be funded. Mentioned in the article are access to mental health resources, a requirement that substitute teachers be trained for emergency situations and creating “threat assessment teams” that would identify young people who might pose a threat.

Robert Waggoner

Maybe the article I'm reading is different than the one you are referencing. The first paragraph reads "J. R. "Rusty" Norman, president of the Santa Fe public school district, told a Senate panel Tuesday that Texas Schools need more money to pay for the security enhancements made after the May 18 shooting at the Santa Fe High School." I assume those Security Enhancements would also be to the Santa Fe High School. I agree that there also many other things that need to happen. I also look at a Security System that allows someone not allowed into a school to enter as a faulty system whether it be a Procedural, Equipment or a People issue. Enhancements may alleviate any or all of those problems.

Carlos Ponce

Robert, you are narrowing your scope as to what "security enhancements" entail. It is more than metal detectors and armed security personnel. The measures that need funding are preventative measures.
"I also look at a Security System that allows someone not allowed into a school...." What do you propose, an impenetrable barrier around the school grounds with guard shacks manned with security guards? The intent is not to prevent people from entering SFHS. The intent is to make certain no one brings weapons into the school and to see that those who do enter have a reason for being there. The woman did not make it past posted security. The system worked.

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