IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The first day of school for some North Texas students is less than two weeks away.
For some, when they walk into class, their teachers will be armed with new knowledge to help protect schools.
Wednesday more than 100 educators from across North Texas attended the “Creating Safe Schools and Campuses” workshop at North Lake College to learn from retired Secret Service.
“I really just wanted to give back what I learned,” Retired Secret Service Special Agent in Charge turned security consultant Mark Lowery said.
Lowrey spent decades with the Secret Service.
“I did White House protection detail with President Reagan and H.W. Bush,” he said.
After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, he felt a calling to protect again.
“I pulled the old Secret Service Department of Education “Safe School Initiative,” he said. “ It’s still relevant today.”
It stresses educators need to be able to detect students who are showing signs that they’re on a pathway to violence, something Governor Greg Abbott recently addressed in his “School and Firearm Safety Plan.”
Lowery said school districts should have a behavioral threat assessment program in place.
Dr. Margaret Coggins, who spoke at the workshop, said indicators include significant changes in a students behavior, depression and thoughts about suicide or murder. If a student is troubled, educators need to better access their needs and get them help.
Keller ISD already has a behavioral threat assessment program in place.
“We have a tool now that helps us identify students that would have never been on our radar in the past,” Keller ISD Coordinator of Counseling Intervention Services Marcene Weatherall said. “It’s a preventative tool.”
“It helped our students feel safer and our community feel safer,” Keller ISD Director of Safety and Security Kevin Kinley said.
“That is one of the things that we feel like is going to prevent and mitigate any sort of incident,” Forney ISD Chief of Human Services Rick Geer said.
Geer said his district is currently working to put a behavioral threat assessment program in place.