WACO, TX (FOX 44) – Amid much commotion, Waco ISD Board of Trustees recently approved of new designs for G.W. Carver Middle School, Tennyson Middle School, and Waco High School.
In its meeting this month, one Waco police officer provided his statement regarding safety concerns with the new design.
In the new school designs there are common learning areas that are surrounded by glass for students to collaborate and enjoy each other’s company, but Waco ISD parent, Ashley Stone sees it as an opportunity for trouble.
“After Uvalde, it’s kinda scary dropping your kids off every day because you really don’t know if they’re going to come home,” said Stone.
In Waco ISD new school designs, Stone sees the glass more as vulnerability than protection.
“I’m kind of terrified of the kids being exposed in that way and really not having a place to hide or anything like that,” said Stone.
However the security Waco ISD plans to implement helps them feel prepared.
“The campuses include perimeter fencing to direct folks towards limited entry points to even the spaces around the building,” said Kyle DeBeer, Waco ISD Chief of Staff.
New security the schools will have include alarm systems for any doors left open, and a button to lock all doors in the building in emergencies.
For Stone, the problems she has are with the safety and learning environment inside the school.
“There’s distractions. What if there is a fight in the hallway or something going on there,” said Stone. “They’re not going to pay attention to their teachers, they’re going to look out the big glass window and see what’s going on in the hallways.”
Waco ISD’s citizen’s advisory committee of 60 members met in the first half of 2021 to discuss future school designs.
The parents, teachers and community leaders made collaboration a goal in their public planning.
“One of the things that we heard is that students need to be prepared to engage collaboratively in the workforce,” said DeBeer. “We want engaging, learning environments that foster collaboration, allow for small group projects.”
Stone also mentions children with learning disabilities, and wishes more would have been considered.
“I’m a parent, and none of their kids go to any of these schools in question,” said Stone. “Why didn’t you ask us as parents and why didn’t you talk to your teachers in these schools?”
Right now developments are going on at G.W. Carver Middle School to open next fall with Waco High School and Tennyson Middle School in different stages of construction.