September 21, 2023
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On May 24, 2022, a single shooter entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where he took the lives of 19 4th grade students and two teachers and injured 18 more people. 

“After Uvalde, Governor Abbott got concerned,” said MISD Superintendent Dr. R.L. Richards. “They decided to have an outside door audit for the schools in Texas. That’s 1,100 school districts, probably 9,000 campuses. In Muleshoe alone, we have four campuses. They decided to try to really see if we were taking care of business by having an unannounced intruder audit. They won’t give you a day, or a time, or a building. They will let you know what month they will come.” 

The Texas School Safety Center hired eight retired superintendents for Region 17. The superintendents were required to come out and check outside doors on campuses, unannounced. 

“That sounds good in theory, except I have 14 Guardians that are carrying guns on campus, so an unannounced intruder does not sound like a good situation. However, they wanted to make it as realistic as possible,” Richards said. 

“Since August we have had the principal, the assistant principal, the safety officer, maintenance, the city police, the sheriff’s department and DPS officers all helping check doors. We don’t want a door opened either, so we’ve been documenting weekly, checking the doors and making sure they close right, and that no one is leaving them open. So, on this audit, we’ve been making sure there are no rubber wedges, no wooden wedges, rocks or bricks to prop a door open. We couldn’t even have a rock in the area of the door.” 

Concern about the rock hearkens back to Uvalde, where a teacher had propped a door open with a rock. The teacher went back to the door and removed the rock, but it failed to latch properly when it was closed. 

“Muleshoe schools and the state of Texas are taking as much precaution as we can to make sure our outside doors are locked,” Richards said. 

Inside doors are even more important than outside doors – there has never been a school shooting incident where a shooter has entered through a locked classroom door. 

“Having inside doors locked can be a difficult policy, even for teachers with a great deal of experience,” Richards said. “The welding shop has to have a door for ventilation, and there are circumstances where some room door has to be open. However, it’s strongly suggested to teachers to keep their room doors locked.” 

During the audit, the two retired school superintendents came to check the doors, while Richards remained in his office. 

“The principal saw that when two men came to check the doors, the police department drove up, the sheriff’s officer showed up, and the drug dog showed up,” Richards said. “It’s pretty neat that we’ve got that much security for our kids. I couldn’t have planned that if I wanted to. It made me feel good.” 

After checking the outside, the auditors came in through front door and signed into the school as guests. 

“They send in a report on a huge spreadsheet to the Texas School Safety Center,” Richards said. “We have 45 days to report to the school board on what our audit was. If the report finds that a door was open, we would have to go into closed session to discuss the issue. That’s how serious Texas is taking all outside doors being locked. It’s been a pretty good deal.” 

The Intruder Detection Audit Report for Muleshoe High School on 10/14/2022 states that the inspection team did not observe any findings that need corrective actions at this time. The report was broken down into Phase 1: Intruder Detection Audit, Phase 2: Exterior Door Audit, and Phase 3: Classroom Door Audit. 

It was noted that the district does not have a policy or written administrative directive to close and lock classroom doors. It was also noted that documentation of weekly exterior door sweeps had been observed. 

Richards met with the district forum of parents and teachers, and they agreed to have a parent safety meeting at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 10, place to be determined, to talk to parents about safety protocols and receive their input. 

“We want parents to know their child is safe, and we want to keep our parents informed. Everyone wants their kids to be safe; they’re expecting the school to be safe, and I want it to be safe. We still want school to be a friendly place, we want parents to be involved, and the parents want to be involved,” Richards said. 

MISD also performed a self-audit with their insurance company, Edwards Risk Management, last week. 

“They spent four days on all of our campuses, walking through everything. They have hired an outside contractor to check on all of our schools and give us a report. This check is more comprehensive, including things like sidewalks, gas lines, and other things that contribute to school safety,” Richards said. 



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