Fears prompt security changes at Ennis ISD

The Ennis Independent School District in southeastern Ellis County is changing its security policies amid school safety fears.

Effective immediately, all students can be searched at random. Starting next school year, students will have to carry clear backpacks and wear their school IDs. Classroom doors will stay locked during the school day. 

Search dogs will also visit schools more often and more cameras and security officers will be added. 

In a statement, the school district said the safety and well-being of the students and staff are a top priority.

"While we work each day to provide educational excellence for every child in every classroom every day, our primary responsibility must be to keep our children and staff safe,” Ennis ISD said. “Our parents and guardians have entrusted us with a priceless gift by sending their children to our schools, and we take that responsibility very seriously."

The backpacks and the IDs mirror policies announced a few days ago at the South Florida school where a gunman killed 17 students and staff on Valentine’s Day. Some students there have pushed back.

“Carly Novell, a Stoneman Douglas High School Senior tweeted, “Douglas is OUR school Clear backpacks and metal detectors make it into the shooter’s school.”

Most North Texas parents are happy with the new policies.

"When they leave the house, you expect them to be protected and watched after,” said mother Colleen Wood. “So I think that's all a good idea."

Julio Gutierrez wishes the district would take security a step further.

"I'd be completely happy, 100 percent, if a teacher I knew was carrying in class with obviously safe background, checking them, and knowing how to carry and be armed,” he said.

New security gates will be installed on campuses this summer.