AUSTIN, Texas — Starting in September, students, teachers and staff at Texas public schools will see inspectors conduct random intruder audits on campuses.
On Wednesday, the agency in charge of those audits let the KVUE Defenders see what they'll actually look like.
Nate Turner is the associate director of School Safety Readiness, the program in charge of training inspectors. He checked several exterior doors to make sure they were locked.
But the demonstration caught Lehman High School administrator Cameron Cutrone by surprise. He saw us from inside the school and immediately came outside.
"This is just a regular encounter of me seeing some adults who I don't recognize as parents or even district employees … I didn't recognize you guys, so I just approached and said, 'Hello, how can I help?' I hope it was polite," Cutrone said.
Turner said the interaction was ideal.
"That's exactly what it's supposed to look like … There was no cause for alarm for either one of us. He didn't scare me. I didn't scare him. He was just doing his job, inquiring, 'Who is this guy trying to, you know, get into a door that's locked?'" Turner said.
These mandatory, random inspections are a result of what happened in Uvalde in May when an 18-year-old gunman walked through an unlocked door at Robb Elementary and killed 19 students and two teachers.
Days later, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas School Safety Center to conduct surprise inspections to make sure doors are locked, among other security measures.
If doors are open, they must be manned by an adult, like Cutrone. He doesn't mind the inspections.
"I welcome the scrutiny because I hope that the message gets out that we're being vigilant," Cutrone said.
Turner can't reveal every aspect of the inspection process – it would defeat the purpose of the random audits – but he told us what students, teachers and staff can expect if they come across an inspector.
"I'm not wearing any kind of military uniform, not dressed in all black. I don't have a coat on. I don't have a hoodie on … We want to make sure that we've put them at ease. We don't want them to be nervous … We're here checking to make sure that doors are secured and locked or, you know, that we cannot gain access and be an intruder or somebody that's unauthorized to be on campus," Turner said.
Checking doors at 100% of Texas school districts is the goal for inspectors by the end of the year. They want to visit 75% of campuses by May.
KVUE discussed the intruder audits in more detail with the executive director of the Texas School Safety Center.
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