By: Sarah Snyder
MIDLAND - West Texas parents may have already started stocking up on the notebooks, pencils, and backpacks, but Midland ISD Police are getting ready for back to school a little differently this year hoping to make sure your students are safe in the classroom.
For the first time, public schools and private schools are working together on an emergency plan in case of the worst. Whether there's an on-campus emergency or a dangerous situation near-by, Midland school police are hoping to train all the schools in town so everyone knows the drill.
"We're here for all children, whether they're in the private or public school system, so we want to provide the same security measures for those private schools as we do our own," Midland ISD Police Chief, David Colburn, said.
Putting public vs. private schools aside, Midland ISD Police aren't just looking out for city schools this year they'll be watching out for the private school students too.
"I want the parents to know that whether it's a public school or private school, their kids are going to have the same response by first responders being it fire or police," Chief Colburn said. "We're all going to work together to make sure it's the safest environment we can make it."
Right now, city or county authorities respond when there's an emergency on a private school campus. But the problem is all the terminology and operations are completely different - meaning law enforcement has to know how each school's function. This new plan from MISD would provide one solid system for lockdowns and shelter in place making emergency response time more efficient.
"This is fantastic," St. Ann's Principal, Joan Wilmes, said. "We do need to be speaking the same language. It's not about your school or my school, it's really about the students and children and making sure they're safe."
Administrators at St. Ann's just went through their training this week. The principal told NewsWest 9, she plans to make sure not only teachers and students know the drill, but that parents understand what's happening and how they'll be involved.
"I want them to know that we're doing everything to provide a safe and secure environment," Wilmes said. "I also want them to know what the process is. If you hear your child's school went into lockdown - what's your automatic response? You want to come to school and grab them and there's a procedure that needs to take place to make sure that everyone is safe."
Midland ISD Police say having all schools on-board will also be a big help to first responders from city and county law enforcement in streamlining response time. They've already held training for St. Ann's and they plan to offer the same emergency preps to other area private schools.