In 2013, Hays County recognized the need for an enhanced response program for schools after an incident at one of the schools resulted in a lockdown. Following the incident, Hays County took initiative and created the School Safety Task Force. This Task Force consisted of all first responding agencies and the four school districts within Hays County. The individuals selected for this group were deemed responsible for creating a safe environment for students and teachers by piecing together a standard response protocol training program unique to the Hays County Schools.
Adapted from the “I Love You Guys” Foundation, the Hays County Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is an all hazards approach that aims to teach and train first responders, teachers, and students on the four types of responses, Lockout, Lockdown, Shelter, and Evacuate. When applied, these four actions can ensure the safety of students in a variety of dangerous situations that have the potential to manifest in a school setting. Whether that threat is a man-made or natural disaster, inside or outside of the building, the students within Hays County will know what to do and will have the capability to remain safe.
In addition to the four SRP actions, the Hays County School Safety Task Force also developed reunification plans for the schools. These plans are tactical level plans that predetermine reunification sites and processes, and consist of various interlocal agreements that permit the shared use of resources such as school facilities, buses, and staff during and emergency situation.
To this day, Hays County continues to evolve and develop their school safety program through a series of routine trainings, drills, and plan maintenance.
In 2018, Hays County continued to develop the SRP program at a more granular level, making it easier for teachers and students in the classroom by coordinating the production of the Standard Response Protocol training videos found throughout this website, in conjunction with the Texas State University’s Institute for Government Innovation. These 1-hour animated training videos aimed to fill in the gaps within the classroom by helping to reach students in a more efficient and effective manner. These videos allow students to better understand and remember the details within each of the four SRP actions, by breaking each lesson down into entertaining segments and providing teaching materials to the instructor.
In 2019, the founder of the “I Love You Guys” Foundation, John-Michael Keyes, the Texas State School Safety Center Director Kathy Martinez-Prather, the Hays County Office of Emergency Services Director Kharley Smith, and the Superintendents from the local school districts debuted the newly produced SRP animated video for PreK through Second Grade. Following the success of the videos, Hays County identified the need to engage an older audience. As a result, in the Fall of 2019 Hays County and their partners created a second SRP training video geared towards the older students. This innovative video follows the same lessons with more wit, highbrow humor, and is taught by a hip professor and his assistant, Mr. Robot.
Greg Abbott has highlighted the work of Hays County as “…one that should be modeled across the state.” When asked about what makes the Hays County Standard Response Protocol Program unique, Abbott said, “Both the level of detail and sophistication, the planning, and organization of strategies that bring together this collaboration of multiple law enforcement and first responder agencies and the way they can work hand in hand. Basically it’s a roadmap.”