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Houston ISD superintendent addresses open door policy

Jun 11, 2023

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HOUSTON, Texas — Finishing touches were being made at schools like Madison High School on Friday before the new academic year.

It's one that will begin again on many campuses with a collaboration called Operation Safe Start.

“These faith-based leaders will walk the halls of our schools to reinforce good behavior and good decision making,” said Houston ISD Police Chief Shamara Garner during a news conference Friday alongside Houston Area Ministers Against Crime.

State-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles said he knows safety is top of mind for many families which was reflected in KHOU 11's back-to-school survey.

"Safety’s important, but so is instruction,” he said.

Miles is standing by a decision to buck the trend in many, if not most, districts to keep classroom doors closed, if not locked, at all times.

It's something that was also the previous policy in HISD.

"We’re not going to close the door, put the cardboard up over the slit in the room, over the window, not going to do that," said Miles. "That leads to ineffective teaching, lack of accountability and actually some unsafe situations in the classroom.”

He said a robust exterior entry security plan and officers who are readily available should ensure all students and staff are safe.

He added that there may be exceptions to the open-door policy.

“Safety is a system-wide challenge or a system-wide issue," said Miles. "It’s not just about the doors.”

He said the average school day should remain the same for most students despite safety and security changes along with modifications to curriculum and other things under the TEA intervention.

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