Liberty Christian School plans security check

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Individuals with law enforcement backgrounds will visit Liberty Christian School in Argyle today and recommend a plan to improve security on campus, according to school officials.

In the wake of last week’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 students and six school employees died, Rodney Haire, Liberty president and founder, said steps are being taken to implement a plan that tightens security at the college preparatory school and keeps those on campus safe.

Individuals with backgrounds in law enforcement were handpicked to examine the school to determine whether it is safe, and they will recommend a security plan, Haire said. The initial report will be presented to the school’s board of trustees soon.

“After Newtown, the game changed and you’ve got to prepare for serious issues,” he said. “We are not going to hesitate.

“We’re going to move forward on it. You hate to overreact, but I’m not sure you can.”

Haire said that while Liberty always has felt secure, the tragedy in Connecticut establishes “a new level of awareness.”

“I feel very safe in Argyle, but I know Newtown did as well,” Haire said. “No one thinks it’s going to happen to their schools, but neither did Newtown.”

He said it saddens him that “we’re living in a different time” when people have to be aware and live on “high alert, and that’s a place we’ve never been before.” The nation is in shock and mourning, Haire said, and leaders of schools can’t afford downtime in preparing comprehensive security plans.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a proclamation Thursday calling for a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. local time today in memory of the 26 victims who died at Sandy Hook, and he encouraged places of worship and buildings that are able to ring bells to do so 26 times. That coincides with the “Day of Mourning” called by Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

On Monday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott urged Texas school districts to review their safety plans and said 78 districts were not in compliance with school safety measures. As of Thursday, the number of noncompliant districts had decreased to 24 and included the Tioga school district, according to a list posted on the attorney general’s website.

On Monday, the Argyle school board unanimously passed a motion calling for an independent study and audit of the district’s safety procedures as a result of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

The district’s last safety audits were in 2008 and 2011, Superintendent Telena Wright said.

Board President Kevin Faciane said that although the district has no safety deficiencies, the board wants to take a proactive approach so it can challenge or improve the security measures currently in place and ensure it has done everything possible to make Argyle campuses safe. He said district officials are looking at proposals and intend to hire someone to conduct the security audit and study at the board’s January meeting.

“If there’s anything else we can possibly do proactively to protect our students, that’s what we want the audit and study to show,” Faciane said. “We are commissioning this study as a proactive move on the district’s part. This is extra caution that we’re applying in light of what happened in Connecticut.”

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is btabor@dentonrc.com .


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