Belton: New security communication system being used districtwide

BELTON, Texas (KWTX) With the start of the new year, Belton Independent School District has a new security communication tool that is being used districtwide.

The district is now using the "I Love You Guys Foundation" protocol.

"There's five different actions depending on what emergency situation that might be arising that an administrator can call for," said Doug Taylor, coordinator of security and safety.

With the new protocol, Belton ISD now has the same system in place for every school in the district. From elementary, middle to high school, the security practices are now the same.

"Lockout, lockdown, evacuate or shelter-in-place or simply just everyone in classroom where they are at while they deal with a situation, Taylor said.

The system uses five keywords:
* Lockout: Get inside and lock doors.
* Lockdown: Move away from sight, lock all doors, turn off lights, maintain silence.
*Evacuate: Students leave belongings behind with teachers leading to specified location, take attendance and bring medications, if necessary.
* Shelter: Hazard and safety strategy. Move to shelter area for tornado, hazmat and seal the room.
* Hold: Remain in classroom until "all clear" is given. Teacher will clear the halls and lock classroom door. Take attendance.

At Chisholm Trail Elementary School, students and staff have been practicing and learning the new system.

"They know when we talk about safety that, OK, we mean business. This is what we've got to do to make sure you're safe, we're safe and everyone else is as well," Principal Elizabeth McMurtry said.

Magnetic locks also now limit access from the office into campus and classroom doors remain locked as long as a teacher is inside.

"Our staff are trained and we're training our students what to do so that they can be as safe as possible. We don't want there to be any alarm when we do have drills," McMurtry said.

Belton ISD says they are the first in the area to use the "I Love You Guys Foundation" protocol.

“The tried and true measures that have been done in the past are still tried and true in our district,” Coordinator of Emergency Preparedness Pete Ramirez said in a press release. “Through the Texas School Safety Center, the I Love You Guys Foundation are trying to make the Standard Response Protocol universal in Texas, and we are pleased that Belton ISD is the first school district in the area to implement this system.”