Safety first. This is both a motto and practice for Comal Independent School District as it prepares for the 2019-2020 school year.
About 100 Comal ISD administrators spent Thursday at the Village Venue learning emergency protocol procedures from John Michael Keyes, executive director of the I Love U Guys Foundation.
Keyes started the foundation after his daughter Emily died in a school shooting, her last text to her family being “I Love U Guys.” This was the first time Comal ISD had Keyes come out to give the training.
“John is the very best,” said Joseph McKenna, director of safety for Comal ISD. “We want the very best training possible for the safety of our students.”
Administrators will take the training and information and teach to their own staff and faculty during the upcoming week, as teachers prepare for the new school year.
The approach helps keep the district and each campus cohesive, said Casey Whittle, principal of Canyon High School.
“We want our kids to feel safe with us while at school,” Whittle said. “We want them to know if something were to happen we’d do everything we can to keep them out of harm.”
Superintendent of Comal ISD Andrew Kim said Comal ISD takes the safety of its students very seriously, which is why they sought the very best to come down and train its administrators.
“We will definitely have him come back,” Kim said. “We were really glad to be able to have him do our training this year.”
The district has been following safety procedures and procedure training for over a decade now, Steve Stanford, executive director of communications for the district said, but having Keyes be the one to come teach them makes it more real.
“He’s really personable and great at engaging our staff,” Stanford said.
Training started around 8:30 a.m. and concluded around 4:30 p.m. The focus of the training was on communication and how vital it is in an emergency.
“How many of you administrators have to carry around two radios?” Keyes asked the audience of admins. “A few? And how many of you hate that? What if I told you communication is the most vital part of handling an emergency? Still hate those two radios?”
Proper communication can save seconds if not minutes, and minutes matter in an emergency, Keyes said.
“This training is about getting everyone one the same page, using the same vocabulary in those kinds of moments,” Keyes said.
After the recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton, safety is something that should be on everyone’s mind, Keyes said.
“You know, I think with these most recent attacks it just shows how important it is for everyone to be prepared,” Keyes said.
Students for Comal ISD start class on Tuesday, Aug. 27.
For more information about the I Love U Guys Foundation visit https://iloveuguys.org.