While conducting a safety audit of schools in Uvalde, Texas, an inspector posing as an intruder was able to gain access to a school cafeteria through a door that did not properly lock, the school district’s superintendent said at a school board meeting Monday.
Auditors tested three schools in Uvalde in December, and while two passed with all of their exterior doors locked, an inspector was able to gain access to one school through the door of a cafeteria loading dock during a delivery. The inspector noticed the door latch was faulty and did not lock unless the door was slammed closed, according to Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District interim superintendent Gary Patterson.
There were no students in the cafeteria at the time, and the inspector was stopped by staff in the cafeteria, he said.
Patterson said he could not divulge which schools were audited.
The audit was part of a statewide program introduced by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to conduct “random intruder detection audits” at Texas school districts in the wake of the killing of 19 children and two teachers on May 24 after a gunman walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, and began firing.
“That really is 100% my responsibility to see that didn’t happen …” Patterson told school board members at the meeting. “The delivery of goods into loading docks was just something, quite honestly, that I overlooked. But I won’t overlook it next time.”
At the meeting, Patterson also went over new security measures and plans for the district, including new doors, bulletproof windows, adding metal detectors, and focusing on a single point of entry for each school. At least 500 security cameras were ordered for campuses across the district.
In October, the school board voted to suspend the district’s remaining police force, relying instead on troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The district also employs campus monitors who walk around continuously to check things like interior doors, exterior doors and gates and fences that have been set up around campuses.