School Safety Spotlight Program

Overview of Recipients

txssc star - indicates an overall recipient for fiscal year.

Spring 2022

Jaime Salazar, Texas Southmost College (TSC)
Collaborative Community Partnerships

jaimie salazar

Texas Southmost College’s location in Brownsville, next to a high-traffic port of entry with approximately 1.5 miles of international border, presents unique safety and security challenges. TSC’s safety and security team used strategy-based experience to create an interagency community-based policing methodology. This hybrid security model includes local, state, and federal law enforcement along with a private security company.

The methodology includes use of an incident command system (ICS) to organize, train, and equip all stakeholders on emergency response to the college. TSC has used this system to train and conduct table-top exercises with local, state, and federal partners.

TSC also created a strategic communication plan. Students, staff, and community partners are equipped with a technological tool that utilizes crowd sourcing software to report any suspicious activity, behavior, or safety concerns directly to the security team. This tool enables anyone on campus to become part of the eyes and ears of the security team, aiding in keeping the campus a safe environment for all.

“The president of Texas Southmost College (TSC), Dr. Jesus Roberto Rodriguez, and the board of trustees have invested in a unique security model for the TSC community which has made our campus safer for students, faculty, and staff. This has facilitated and supported our unconventional approach to campus security which exceeds standards and incorporates interagency planning, implementation, response, and recovery efforts.” - Jaime Salazar, Associate Vice President of Operations

Sergeant Scott Knight, Collin College
Outstanding Individual Service

scott knight

Sergeant Scott Knight manages and coordinates training for the 66 sworn officers, eight dispatchers and one civilian employee who serve Collin College. Since Sergeant Knight was assigned to the training division two years ago, he has built a well-organized, effective division from the ground up.

In 2021, Sergeant Knight coordinated more than 7,448 contact hours of training for the department and is on track to surpass that number in 2022. The training covers a variety of topics including firearms, active attack training, critical incident training, mental health, crime scene and evidence, sexual assault, leadership, trauma-affected veterans, Clery/Title IX, TCOLE mandated training, and field training for new officers. Sergeant Knight has also coordinated several training events that included Collin College’s police and fire academy students.

Sergeant Knight is carrying out the mission of the college - to help develop skills, strengthen character, and challenge the intellect - within the agency by coordinating an on-going training environment that focuses on the needs of officers and the community they serve. His engagement in creating and maintaining a high level of training enables the department to provide top-level service to the community and achieve the goal of a safe learning environment for students.

“Training is a fundamental key to success for any organization. The evolving nature of law enforcement dictates that we must learn new skills along with keeping known skills sharp. Confident, trained police officers will provide a better service to our communities and students.” - Sergeant Scott Knight

Connie Eubanks, Collin College txssc star
Positive Climate and Prevention Programs

connie eubanks

Connie Eubanks, the fitness center manager for the Frisco Campus at Collin College, had been interested in providing a self-defense course for many years. When she learned the police department would be starting the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) program, she asked to participate. RAD is a nationally recognized women’s self-defense program that highlights risk awareness and avoidance, demonstrates and practices a select set of physical defensive tactics, and places those tactics in realistic scenarios that set participants up for success.

Connie puts her many years of experience teaching fitness courses into teaching the RAD course. She helps participants, most of whom have no experience in defensive tactics, learn to use their bodies. She also provides comfort to those who may experience fear or insecurity during the RAD course. Knowing that students tend to sign up for events and not attend, Connie personally calls each of the women registered for the class to ensure they have the information they need to attend. This program enables students to gain confidence and skills to use against potential attacks while on or off campus.

“I am so thankful and privileged to have the opportunity to offer Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes to the students and employees of Collin College. RAD empowers women with the necessary skills and knowledge to help prevent an attack. Knowing I play a tangible role in the safety of women on our campuses is humbling, and I am a better person for it.” - Connie Eubanks

Starla Martin and Dr. Thomas Maglisceau, Celina ISD
Staff Development and Training

tom maglisceau starla martin

Starla Martin, Coordinator of Testing and Student Services, and Dr. Thomas Maglisceau, Celina ISD Superintendent, planned and executed a reunification drill involving staff from three school districts, local law enforcement from four agencies, fire department and emergency medical services personnel, students, and parents.

They saw the need to run multi-agency and district drills to prepare Celina ISD, as well as other districts and agencies in the area, to handle large scale emergencies before they occur. Involving students, staff, and community partners in the drill, allows all participants to understand, cooperate with, and fully implement a reunification of students with parents and guardians if it is ever necessary at a district level. The reunification drill makes all elements of the community and district partners more prepared for an actual reunification event.

"The reunification process was not a one-man show. For the drill to be successful, we took an all-hands-on-deck approach, enlisting district employees, community volunteers, local first responders and officers, and surrounding community and school resource officers. Everyone involved played an integral role in helping our district and community be better prepared in the event of an actual emergency. Celina ISD is and will always be dedicated to the safety and security of our students and staff. This event was a humbling experience, a process which I hope we never have to actually use. However, I am thankful we have a leader that sees the importance of school safety and encouraged me and my colleagues to facilitate the drill. I have never been more proud of where I work and those I have the privilege to work with." - Starla Martin

Fall 2021

Mission CISD, Gun Responsibility Awareness Safety Program (GRASP) txssc star
Collaborative Community Partnerships

mission cisd

Mission CISD collaborates with the Gun Responsibility Awareness Safety Program (GRASP), a local non-profit organization whose mission is “to promote gun responsibility awareness and safety that’s geared towards children and their parents or guardians who are gun owners.” GRASP’s school program focuses on 4 core ideas: safe storage, accountability by adults and children, incident prevention (gun violence, child suicide and loss of life), and awareness - Kids (See - Hear - Report) and Parents (Recognize - Take Action - Get Help - School Notification).

GRASP provides two types of presentations — one for students and one for their parents. The kids’ session presents the information in a fun and memorable way, while the adults’ session takes on a more serious tone. GRASP reiterates the fact that an unsecured firearm at home, could easily become a loaded weapon at school.

Mission CISD and GRASP also partner with local law enforcement agencies at their events. The program strives to teach students that law enforcement officials are a source of assistance and support. During the presentations, officers interact with students to breakdown any barriers of fear or apprehension in reaching out when help is needed.

“This is a very unique program because it goes to the root of the issue — how to help families, teaching them about gun safety. In our world of education, when a child falls behind or is having issues with academics, we provide intervention. We teach, we reteach. But when it comes to gun responsibility and awareness and safety, it can’t happen after the fact. And I had not come across a program that provides that intensive intervention in a fun, meaningful way for children. But in adults, it reaches the heart and the mind.” - Dr. Carol G. Perez, Superintendent

Mission CISD
Positive Climate and Prevention Programs

mission isd

Mission CISD takes a holistic approach to supporting the mental health needs of students and families. By repurposing federal funds from a program that was only supporting a small number of students, the district employed its first, onsite, full-time licensed professional counselors (LPCs). An initial group of four LPCs grew to six plus three social workers and up to 10 transitional coaches who are also LPCs (supported by a privately funded COVID-19 response grant). The LPCs provide assessment, therapy, and treatment services as well as work with families and students in crisis. Each LPC maintains a virtual counseling office in addition to offering services in person. The LPCs also provide support and training to staff.

The district assists students in maintaining social emotional health through a relaxation technique known as mindfulness. Each elementary campus has a mindfulness room, a quiet space where students can retreat when they are experiencing stress, anxiety, or have other needs. These spaces can be a refuge for students and a place where they can utilize the relaxation techniques. Mindfulness techniques are also part of the Inner Explorer program which has been implemented throughout the district. This resource has been extremely effective in managing social emotional health for students and staff.

“We know that students’ social emotional health has been affected due to the many trials associated with the pandemic. We wanted to successfully reintegrate students back into the classroom while also provide them with the tools and support they need throughout the year. We have taken a holistic approach to not only support our students, but their families and our staff members who may be experiencing some mental health issues.” - Dr. Carol G. Perez, Superintendent

Ty Morrow, Brazosport ISD txssc star
Outstanding Individual Service

ty morrow, brazosport isd

Ty Morrow is the Coordinator of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management for Brazosport Independent School District (BISD). He brings nearly forty years of public service, with a concentration in law enforcement, security, and education to his role. Ty coordinates with 19 campus principals, 33 assistant principals, 1,800 teachers and staff, and 11,500 students to ensure they are keenly aware of all safety, security, and emergency management protocols for the district. Mr. Morrow stays abreast of best practices in the field of school safety and security, follows emerging trends, and reviews legislative changes for new requirements and impacts on district operations.

His unique set of experiences creates a sense of credibility and trust from the various entities within the district. Because of his extensive law enforcement background, BISD police officers and the district’s safety specialists trust him and have confidence in his knowledge and skills. Because he has been a paraprofessional and a special education teacher, teachers and paraprofessionals know he understands their perspective and trust his guidance. Because he is heavily involved in community leadership, church activities, and mentoring programs, those in the community have relationships with him and trust him. All of these relationships influence his ability to shape safety and security measures within the schools and district.

"What I most enjoy about my work/service is the ability to pour God's love through me into every student I encounter daily. I use these daily interactions to plant little seeds of hope, love, ambition, fortitude, and a desire that will one day shape these students into becoming men and women full of God's Love. The students from Brazoswood's Air Force ROTC training program (pictured here with Ty Morrow) embody the testament of service represented in 1 Peter 4:10. They have started their journey of service to others by participating in the ROTC program at their school.” - Ty Morrow

Dr. Darwin Spiller, Richardson ISD txssc star
Staff Development and Training

dr. darwin spiller, richardson isd

Dr. Darwin Spiller is the Executive Director of Title IX Compliance and Investigations for Richardson Independent School District (RISD). Primary goals of this division include taking appropriate steps to prevent issues of sex discrimination and providing on-going training for campus administration and central staff as well as investigating and resolving complaints about sexual misconduct, harassment, and other situations that fall under Title IX.

Dr. Spiller’s one-hour Title IX virtual professional trainings give administrators flexibility about where and when they connect to learn more about how to keep kids safe and report cases. The virtual format improves consistency as participants access the same material, no matter their location.

Dr. Spiller partnered with the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center to provide professional development for teachers regarding sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. To bring Title IX awareness to the student level, he partners with the RISD Director of Prevention Programming to utilize peer mediators. Dr. Spiller also partners with law enforcement from the Richardson and Dallas police departments to ensure the safety of all students and staff when conducting investigations. Currently, Dr. Spiller is conducting focus groups to gain input on a follow-up training, “Best Practices for Conducting Investigations.”

"As an educator for 25 years, my new role as an investigator has afforded me an opportunity to learn new skill sets and has challenged and pushed me to grow. Being able to partner alongside administrators to coach and mentor them through investigations is beyond rewarding for me and offers administrators a sense of relief. We all know that when students and staff feel safe in schools there are chances for all to grow. On the flip side, when safety for all is compromised, learning and achieving can be a challenge. Being proactive with intentional training opportunities instead of reactive is the key because if we all know better, we will hopefully do better.” - Dr. Darwin Spiller

Mart High School Teen CERT txssc star
Student-Led Groups or Programs

mart high school teen cert

The Mart High School (MHS) Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a highly dedicated team of students who serve the Mart community. The goal of the program is to adequately train students to respond in times of disaster. Students are trained in accordance with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians skills - beyond the required CERT training.

Each year, MHS Teen CERT organizes and leads required campus drills and puts on a year-long “See Something, Say Something” campaign. Spirit days, costume contests, prizes, and assemblies throughout the year involve local police and officials. By creating a positive working relationship with law enforcement, students see the best of those in uniform and learn to stay informed and speak up about safety issues.

MHS Teen CERT conducts annual safety walk-throughs and sends recommendations for changes to the administration. Members teach CPR, first aid, and bleeding control to students and staff. The team attends city functions, such as National Night Out, serving as a medical stop for emergencies and injuries. The life-saving skills these students learn impact their lives, as well as the lives of other students and community members.

"CERT has benefited me in many ways, from teaching me how to help others to being more vigilant in emergent situations.” - Ashlyn Bohannon, Grade 10

"CERT has helped me with being cautious as well as being prepared for real-life emergencies that could happen around me.” - Nancy Robles, Grade 10

txssc star - indicates an overall recipient for fiscal year.