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I-Team: Nearly 90% of elementary schools do not have an officer stationed at the school

Expert: Nearly 90% of North Texas elementary schools missing one important security resource
Expert: Nearly 90% of North Texas elementary schools missing one important security resource 04:22

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Robb Elementary now joins Sandy Hook as two of the deadliest school shootings ever.

Both happened at elementary schools.

According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2020-2021 school year, there were 57 school shootings at high schools across the country. 

There were 58 at elementary schools.

And yet, according to data the I-Team collected, in North Texas, elementary schools appear to be far more vulnerable than middle or high schools.


The I-Team reached out more than 70 school districts in North Texas. We asked the following questions:

  •    How many elementary, middle and high schools do you have?
  •    How many school resource officers do you have?
  •    And, how those officers are assigned?

More than 40 North Texas districts answered the survey helping us create a database of information involving more than 1,300 schools.

"I don't think we're doing enough in Texas," says Mark Lowery. Lowery is retired Special Agent in Charge of the U. S. Secret Service and Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs. Lowery is also the president and owner of Lowery & Associated Security Consulting, LLC.

Studying the information the I-Team collected, Lowery reads the details of each district, "Here's one with 33 properties and 21 officers." 

Reviewing another, he says, "They have 25 elementary schools and they have zero resource officers."

The statistics are not surprising to Lowery, but he admits they are disappointing. "They're really not focusing on elementary schools."


Lowery did see some "positive" findings in the data.  

  • Only one district did not have any officers at all.
  • Most all of the major school districts have a police department of their own.

However, the database revealed weaknesses.


  • Only seven districts had enough officers to assign one to every school.
  • Most officers are stationed at high schools and then middle schools.
  • Most districts told us if their officers cover elementary schools, they "rotate" or "roam" them.
  • 87% of elementary schools do not have a security resource officer stationed at the school at all times.

"We have to take this info and say how can we improve on this," says Lowery. He found the nearly 90% statistic to be the most disturbing.

"If you're going to provide a police officer to your school district why not the elementary schools? They are our most vulnerable of students."


Lowery says look no further than Uvalde, where he believes one officer could have changed everything.

"There would have been time for that person if they would have been permanently assigned there to respond and confront that person."

Earlier this month, Frisco did announce it is expanding coverage at elementary schools. 

Several other districts told the I-Team they are asking for more officers in their budgets. Lowery said there are federal, state and school grants. There are no excuses.

"It's confusing because I can look outside this building see a $25 million football stadium."

The I-Team did find a study by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University which states there is "…no evidence that (school resource officers) prevent school shootings"

Lowery disagrees. He said the officers identify with students, recognize mental issues, and provide a presence that is a preventative which he says is the secret service philosophy.

"We don't want to have to get out of problem. We want to prevent it from happening."

Lowery stressed he is talking about the need for "trained" security resource officers. Those who are vetted and hired properly, taught policies, paid well and partner with the responding police departments.


The I-Team believes it is our responsibility as journalists to report the results of our findings. This gives parents an opportunity to discuss concerns or weaknesses with their schools.

However, the I-Team also feels a responsibility to protect the school districts which reported this data to us. For that reason, the I-Team will not be posting or reporting specific details about any district nor share the database publicly.

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