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New Dallas ISD superintendent talks school safety, asks parents for help

Stephanie Elizalde said DISD is upgrading cameras and weapon detection systems, installing keyless entry and video doorbells, securing vestibules and more.

DALLAS — Dallas Independent School District's (DISD) newest superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde called a news conference Tuesday, anxious to address school safety and security measures now that the 2022-2023 school year officially began. 

"Safety is a very complex problem," said Elizalde. 

The district's looking at a "multiprong approach." DISD received more than $100 million in 2020 to put towards school safety. Many of the projects that money paid for have already been completed, Elizalde said, but some are still underway.

Elizalde said DISD is adding and upgrading cameras and weapon detection systems, installing keyless entry and video doorbells, securing vestibules and more.

But she also said the district needs parents' help.

"If you have guns at home...please work with us," she said, imploring parents to lock, unload and secure their guns. 

Elizalde and DISD Chief of Police John Lowton did not shy away from talking about Uvalde. 

"We don't lay blame on what happens somewhere else, but you learn from it," Lawton said. 

He also said he watched all the Uvalde surveillance video and read all the reports.

"It's a constant, it's almost like a bible."

DISD recently upgraded its radio systems, and just last week trained with Dallas police and fire to make sure all agencies can communicate clearly and quickly in crisis. 

In this survey, WFAA asked parents all across DFW what questions they had. 

A DISD parent, who's also a DISD teacher, asked WFAA to find out, "Why do some campuses have open access points to the playground and portable learning buildings due to a lack of perimeter fencing?" 

"I completely understand that question," Elizalde said. "Because we can't secure portables in the same way we can secure the main building." 

She said removing portables is the district's final goal. Until then, they've secured those buildings with new and better locks, she said. 

Lawton added that the district is looking into fencing options as well. 

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