Cy Creek insitutes new safety measures following Uvalde tragedy


Photo by: Leo Biggerstaff

CFISD’s clear backpack policy is one measure aimed at promoting safe schools. Photo by Leo Biggerstaff.

Officer Romero (pictured) is one of Cy Creek’s campus officers, alongside Officer Velarde. Photo by Isabella Garcia. (Photo by: Isabella Garcia)

Following the tragic events in Uvalde, school safety is once again a highly-debated topic in America. Lawmakers, school districts, and parents search for the most effective way to protect students, but it’s important to see what schools are already doing to protect themselves.

According to the Government Accountability Office, 49 percent of the 318 total school shootings in the U.S. over the last 10 years have been committed by students or former students. This is one reason why schools, including Cy Creek, have instituted enhanced safety measures to prevent unauthorized people from entering school buildings.

According to Assistant Principal Jennifer Box, there are now sensors on every exterior door and if they are open too long, an administrator checks it. There are also more police officers around campus, teachers are no longer allowed to have classroom doors open during instruction, there is more enforcement of the clear backpack and ID policies, and fencing was upgraded around the school, among other improvements.

Assistant Principal Jenna Box. (Photo by: Bryanna Rios)

These changes come as a result of the new school safety requirements put in place by the Texas School Safety Center and the Texas Education Agency which include weekly exterior door sweeps, active threat exercises, and required summer safety training.

So far, Box believes the new safety measures have been effective.

“The door alarm specifically is also catching kids trying to prop doors open to go get lunch,” Box said.

According to Box, in order to make sure the new safety measures are doing what they intended, the district sends out district employees to see if they can get in school and how far they can get. The district does this as a part of the state safety audits to ensure that schools are following guidelines, and they report their findings to the state.

“We’re trying to make it harder and harder to get in,” Box said.

CFISD’s clear backpack policy is one measure aimed at promoting safe schools. Photo by Leo Biggerstaff. (Photo by: Leo Biggerstaff)

According to a poll done by Alfred University, 87 percent of students believe the main cause for school shootings is revenge. Other causes listed by respondents include mental illness and bullying.
Knowing why school shooters do what they do can be the key in preventing someone from going down that path. Box believes the keys to preventing school shootings and keeping schools safe is researching the mental state of school shooters and providing more counseling to support students who are struggling.

“You can’t take out the mental health piece of it,” Box said. “Something is going on in people’s heads to make them want to do it. We need to do research on that, and again it’s staff to help kids immediately when we notice that a student might be having something going on and need help. More resources to help students who feel like that and what to do with that student.”

According to a study done by Mental Health America in 2022, two-thirds of teens with major depression say they have not gotten any help. A study done by the Annie E. Casey Foundation states that anxiety and depression in adolescents have increased from 9.4 percent to 11.8 percent from 2016 to 2020.

Cy Creek has an emotional support dog, CeCe, on campus this year. Box thinks it would not hurt to see if the dog could help students’ mental health but does not believe it is a long term solution.
One of the ways to combat loneliness, depression and anxiety is through community. Box believes Creek’s diverse campus makes it less likely for students to feel alone.

“At Cy Creek, most people fit in with something, feel good about something,” Box said. “We have all different types of people, and we embrace that.”

Oftentimes, school safety discussions involve parents and lawmakers. Students are an important voice that are often left out of the conversation.

Senior Christopher Martin believes Creek is safer than previous years due to teachers and administrators limiting students from exiting the building or letting other students into the building.

“[Creek] is safer since the new upgrades to the cameras around school and teachers and APs are cracking down,” Martin said.

At the start of this year, it became a punishable offense for students to leave the building without permission or open a door for someone, since it is a safety hazard that can jeopardize the safety of everyone in the building.


Though Martin believes Creek has gotten safer, he still sees room for improvement.

“Metal detectors – even though it could be a problem – would ease fear in students and would create a safer environment,” Martin said.

According to Science Daily students who feel safe in school perform better academically and struggle less with mental health issues. Creating a safer environment is important to students in many ways beyond just safety.

Martin believes students feel less safe in school because they are more aware of situations around school and do not trust that teachers and police officers are prepared if something were to happen.

“Students hear more about the things that happen around school that teachers don’t know about. Students don’t feel like teachers take their safety as seriously as they should, [and] the drills are never taken seriously,” Martin said. “Students aren’t informed about safety measures, and a lot of them go unnoticed.”

As people continue to discuss school safety, it is important to see the role everyone plays in keeping school safe. Martin believes that students’ best way to contribute to school safety is to follow procedures and inform administrators about situations around school.

The Uvalde shooter entered the building through an unlocked exterior door, so it is important for students to not leave the building or open the door for other students.

“Students need to stop leaving campus because opening doors for people or letting people into the school can be dangerous, and students need to share what they know with administrators to keep school safe,” Martin said.