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Valley School Districts React to Texas AG's Non-Compliance List

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Posted: Dec 18, 2012 10:01 PM

Updated: Dec 19, 2012 12:09 AM

WESLACO - Three Rio Grande Valley school districts are offering strong reactions to state claims that they are not in compliance with safety laws.

Texas law requires school districts to conduct audits of their safety procedures. The results of those audits are sent to the Texas School Safety Center.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Monday released a list of districts not in compliance with the law.

The districts must outline what are their procedures are for incidents like the mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn.

"We owe it to our children to do all we can to prepare for such a situation," Abbott said in a statement.

The Valley districts in the non-compliance list are Edinburg, La Feria and Valley View.

A spokesman for Edinburg CISD on Monday said they had done the safety audit. He said someone in the district had not responded to an e-mail from the Texas School Safety Center and that's why they got on the list.

The district on Tuesday released a different statement saying it was actually a clerical error on the state's part.

Leonel Galaniz, superintendent with Valley View, showed a receipt from the safety center to show his district had submitted the audit.

"It's confusing, chaotic. We have submitted our audit report on a timely basis," Galaniz said.

The receipt confirms the district completed the required online questionnaire. Galaniz said the district is in compliance with the law.

"We have added security guards in each one of our schools to where they have full-time assistance. We've also assigned central office administrators, two per elementary campus, to go and help supervise in the mornings," Galaniz said.

An official with the safety center said the receipt "could be written better."

The school safety center said if a district is on the list, there's a reason for it. They said the district did not turn in the report, or in most cases, like all the Valley districts, they turned in the report, but there's a problem with it. They said that is why the district is not in compliance with the law.

The safety center said that by law they cannot say what is wrong with the report turned in by any district. To do so would expose a potential security weakness, they said.

In La Feria, the assistant superintendent said he had no idea they were even on the list until CHANNEL 5 NEWS tried to contact them Monday.

"Neither I, nor the superintendent have gotten any kind of notice from the state that we were lacking any kind of report," La Feria ISD Assistant Superintendent Robert Rivera said.

Rivera showed CHANNEL 5 NEWS the district's emergency plans.

"We are doing drills, we have been doing them throughout the year as well concerning some of these safety issues. We're now more focused, obviously with that tragedy that happened in Connecticut. We're so saddened," Rivera said.

Rivera said they are trying to contact the state to find out what else they need to submit.

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