HCISD OKs new safety measures

Resistance film 12 millimeter thick will soon be attached to windows across a number of Hays CISD campuses, adding to an extensive list of recently installed safety measures within the district. 

The film, which has a price tag of $292,974, was approved Feb. 25 by the HCISD Board of Trustees. The film will be installed at 18 district campuses. To a school board that has prioritized school safety in light of national tragedies, the cost, although significant, will assist the district in an emergency. 

Tim Savoy, Hays CISD chief communications officer, said the technology is a strong film that will add an additional safety measure to the campuses. If the glass is tampered with, the film will buy some additional time.

In the case of an emergency, precious seconds and minutes can make the difference for emergency responders called to a campus, he said. 

“(The film) makes it harder for anyone to break through the glass, no matter what means they have to do that,” Savoy said. “We always want to tell our parents where our money is being spent because it’s the community’s schools. However, we still have to be careful discussing the specifics of certain safety projects.” 

At the Feb. 18 board workshop, Trustee Willie Tenorio commended the efforts, adding the film will protect against intruders such as a 2018 vandalism incident at Carpenter Hill Elementary. 

However, the conversation was cut short after Board President Meredith Keller said the specific qualities of the material should not be discussed in open session for safety reasons. The board did not speak about the item before approval at the Feb. 25 meeting, where it was approved by a 6-0 vote.  

Funding for the film was included in security-related items in Proposition 2 of the May 2017 bond. According to district documents, the board approved the installation of the impact-resistant film at Hays and Lehman high schools in November 2018. 

Savoy said there are a myriad of tactics and practices – large and small – the district can implement for school safety.

The district began the discussions on new safety practices about a year ago, and that included the expenditure for the film and the hiring of Philip Taylor, who is the district’s first Director of Safety and Security,

As the district surpassed 20,000 students, the need to revamp safety protocols was a top priority for the district. 

“Our focus is always to protect the students and staff. Yes, we work to protect the property of the schools, but ultimately this is about the people.” Savoy said. “Could this have stopped the vandalism at Carpenter Hill, yes, probably. But our focus is on the safety of our students. The film buys time and it’s tough to get through.” 

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