Texas School District Works With Anixter to Keep Staff and Students Safe
Mansfield Independent School District (MISD)
- Wanted to supply teachers with pepper spray to protect against active shooters, but needed a way to secure the pepper spray
- Needed new classroom door locks to comply with new school policy
- Looking to secure perimeter doors in a way that allowed the school to review visitors before granting access
- Installed safes in all classrooms to secure pepper spray
- Retrofitted classroom doors with new storeroom locks
- Added intercoms to perimeter doors
- Staff, students and parents feel safer
- New classroom locks eliminated teaching interruptions
- Pepper spray added another level of security within the classrooms (last line of defense)
- Intercoms control visitors and provide an additional layer of security
How Can Teachers Help Keep Students Safe?
Safety is a top priority for schools. After the state of Texas recently passed legislation requiring classroom doors to be locked while class is in session, the safety committee at Mansfield Independent School District (MISD)—a school district in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex comprised of 45 schools with more than 35,000 students and 4,500 staff members—met to discuss measures to further increase school safety throughout the district.
Working With Anixter to Increase Security
Anixter had previously worked with MISD through our security integrator partner, Electra Link, on an intercom solution after the school board added a policy requiring all perimeter doors to remain locked. Together, Electra Link and Anixter provided Aiphone intercoms that requires visitors to show ID and be buzzed into the administration office to check in before being allowed to enter the rest of the school.
“We visited the school to see how the system was working, and got to see the intercoms in action. Although it adds a slight inconvenience, parents understand and are happy that there’s that extra layer of security to keep their children safe,” said Baron Hallford, the Anixter sales representative who worked with Electra Link to select the optimal intercom solution.
“We have recently added armed officers to the schools, but arming teachers to respond to active shooter situations as well has been a hotly debated topic nationwide. When the safety committee met, they ranked all potential safety precautions and voted on having a non-lethal option. That’s how we decided on arming teachers with pepper spray, which turned the conversation to how to keep the pepper spray secure when not in use,” said Dr. Paul Cash, executive director of facilities and operations for MISD.
To secure the pepper spray, the local Anixter team consulted with the district safety committee to review a variety of safe options that would best meet their needs. The committee ultimately decided on a hotel-style safe because it used a keypad, rather than a key, ensuring each safe could only be accessed by the person assigned to the safe, and eliminating the need to rekey every safe if a key were lost. Size was also a concern; the hotel safes fit the pepper spray without taking up valuable space within classrooms, office areas and computer labs.
The Anixter team reached out to partner General Lock, who created a custom safe to meet the requirements of MISD. Meanwhile, Anixter sales rep, Hannah Mathers, worked on procuring the pepper spray. “It was a bit of an unusual order for Anixter, but I was able to work closely with Mace Security to supply all 3,800 units and have them delivered right when they were needed since sitting out in the extreme Texas heat could damage the product,” said Mathers.
While checking in on the progress of the safe installation, the Anixter team learned the district was having issues with classroom locks. “After hearing feedback from teachers about the new requirement to keep classroom doors locked, we decided we needed new locks for a lot of the classrooms, as many of them had deadbolts that teachers needed to manually relock every time someone left, which was becoming a distraction during class with students constantly coming and going,” said Cash. To solve this issue, Anixter recommended retrofitting the doors with more than 600 new Best Access locks with storeroom function, which remain locked on the outside, but unlocked on the inside.
Getting Back to Learning
Anixter served as a one-stop security advisor, allowing MISD to implement safes, pepper spray, locks and intercoms. Feedback from the school has been overwhelmingly positive. “With the new locks, teachers are now able to focus on teaching without constant interruption to lock and unlock the door for students,” said Cash. The safes were also well received, and the district held trainings at each school to ensure the teachers felt confident operating both the safes and the pepper spray. “While we have officers at the schools now and the pepper spray is a last line of defense, I think teachers and students feel safer knowing it’s there, should they need it,” said Cash. “Anixter worked with us extremely well and delivered the exact products we needed and was even able to save us quite a bit of money on the large quantity of safes and locks.”
“MISD is kind of leading the revolution in school safety, in large part because they have the full support of the school board, who is helping pass policy,” said Hallford. They have recently begun looking at ballistic film for the school windows to add an additional level of security. “It’s incredibly rewarding when you can see what a difference your work makes in people’s lives. It makes me feel great knowing that staff and students at MISD feel much safer now,” said Mathers.