DeSoto ISD Proactively Updates Safety Plan

DeSoto ISD Makes Proactive Updates to Its District Safety Plan
Posted on 08/01/2023
DeSoto ISD Makes Proactive Updates to Its District Safety PlanIn recent years, school safety has become a critical aspect and priority as it relates to the education of scholars. Under the leadership of Chief of Maintenance and Operations James Thomas, DeSoto ISD remains proactive in ensuring a safe learning environment for district scholars.

“My primary focus has always been ensuring children feel safe when they come to school,” said Thomas.

Since arriving in DeSoto ISD in March of 2022, he began an expectation of regular training for district security staff and school resource officers, inclusive of regular reviews of school safety best practices, legal updates and guidelines, and school safety tabletop practices and review sessions.

“I always want the best for the school communities I serve,” said Thomas. “Minor adjustments like setting standards, expectations, outlining protocols, and reviewing policy, went a long way in building the confidence, decorum, and esteem of the district’s security staff. By helping them understand the impact and magnitude of how their presence optimizes students’ learning experiences because when students feel physically safe, they are empowered to feel safe as they learn and interact with their peers.”

Some of the most recent safety updates made in DeSoto ISD:

- DeSoto ISD will allow students to wear backpacks during the 2023-2024 academic year; however, before major breaks and holidays, the district will ask students to refrain from utilizing backpacks as an enhanced safety measure.
- Regular backpacks are permitted for the upcoming school year as are clear and mesh backpacks. Please note, clear and mesh backpacks are not required.

Body Cameras:
- DeSoto ISD security guards and school resource officers will be required to wear body cameras anytime they are engaging with or interacting with district stakeholders including students and staff members. The devices can be remotely activated for supervisory monitoring and training purposes.

House Bill 3:
- HB3 requires schools to employ one armed staff member per campus. In DeSoto ISD, district security guards and School Resource Officers will be trained and armed to meet the requirements of HB3.

Panic Alert Button:
- The 2023 Texas legislative session requires schools to have a panic button in every classroom as an emergency notification tool. The district is reviewing several options to address this requirement, including the provision of ID badges that feature a panic button worn as a lanyard.

Uniform-Based Dress Code:
- DeSoto ISD will enact a uniform-based dress code for the 2023-2024 academic year inclusive of a solid color polo-style shirt or button-down shirts and solid color uniform bottoms. The use of uniforms will support the quick and easy identification of intruders and support the district’s overall safety and security efforts.
- See the full uniform policy for the 2023-2024 academic year linked here:

Because the district and its leaders take the safety and security of our students and staff seriously, we will remain committed to the regular review of practices and communication of any essential updates as the year progresses.

Additionally, we encourage our parents and guardians, staff, and students to remain vigilant and alert of their surroundings. Remember that safety is everyone’s job, so if you see something, say something.