School board discusses Garland events center security

Safety and security are still top of mind for the Garland Independent School District more than a week after a terror attack on a free speech event.

The school board met behind closed doors for most of the night at Tuesday's meeting, discussing enhanced security issues following the shootings at the Curtis Culwell Center.

Any discussion about changing policy on who can or cannot rent the Culwell Center will come later, two or three weeks down the line.

While Garland ISD says it is now rethinking its leasing policy of the facility, there's a balancing act of how to comply with federal funding requirements.

"One of the main components of that is to maintain non-discriminatory leasing practices," Garland ISD spokesperson Chris Moore said prior to Tuesday night's meeting.

But not at the expense of safety. For upcoming graduations, letters went home to parents in more than two dozen districts using the center, explaining that Garland ISD is providing plastic tote bags and is considering arming the Culwell Center's security officers.

There will also be more police.

"We want them to see a police officer everywhere they look," said Moore. "Just so they will know that they are safe and just give that secure feeling that they have had for the past 10, 12 years that the center has operated with graduations."

Security was also stepped up for Tuesday night's meeting. Outside and before the meeting, bomb sniffing dogs were working the perimeter of GISD's headquarters building.

A police tower was set up in the parking lot where half a dozen officers patrolled.

Inside, everyone was screened with a security wand.

On May 3, two men from Arizona opened fire outside the building just as a controversial Prophet Muhammad art event was wrapping up. Five officers returned fire, killing both men.         

On Monday, Garland's police chief said he would not release the names of those officers involved because of safety concerns.

He also talked about security going into that event. Typically two to four officers work security at the Curtis Culwell Center, but there were more than 40 police officers, school security officers, ATF agents and FBI agents there that day.

The department did not know about any FBI alerts until after the shooting, the chief said.

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