PISD Police Chief Joel Nuñez presents triennial school safety audit results

PRESIDIO — At the end of September, PISD Police Chief Joel Nuñez unveiled the results of the district’s latest triennial safety audit. These reports — required by the Texas School Safety Center — help districts identify and address potential safety concerns and keep up-to-date with statewide requirements and recommendations, including the use of state funds for campus safety upgrades and training for students in seventh grade and above to treat traumatic injuries.

Nuñez’s report detailed areas in which the district was ahead of the curve and several policies that will need to be implemented in the next three years. Among the new mandates, the state is requiring enhanced alert systems, a wider range of drills and stricter training requirements for staff and administrators in emergency management.

The triennial audit recently filed by Nuñez is not to be confused with security audits conducted by the state last year. After the revelation that the Uvalde shooter entered Robb Elementary School through a faulty exterior lock, last year’s audits tested districts on whether or not unauthorized visitors were able to access the school building from the outside. (Both Presidio and Marfa ISDs passed the test.)

Nuñez explained that a lot of new statewide requirements had surfaced over the past year and a half in the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde. As incidents of gun violence in schools have become a reality for many districts, the state has started handing down enhanced policies and guidelines.

He felt that additional training for staff was a priority given the fact that Presidio ISD has had major staff shake-ups over the past few months: the 2023-24 school year began with new leadership at the middle school and high school, as well as a new superintendent, all of whom had to be brought up to speed on policies introduced over the past year and a half.

The district also swapped four seats on the board of trustees and saw the election of a new board president. While school board members are not technically staff members, they must stay consistently up-to-date with the latest shifts in district policy. Without sign-offs and training completion from the new members, the district would not be able to keep working toward goals set by the next round of audits.

In July, all of the district’s new leaders worked through and signed off on the PISD emergency management plan. The plan — which Nuñez refers to as a frequently-updated “living document” — provides a protocol for school leaders to follow in response to a range of issues from bullying to an active shooter.