As a father, I'm used to the routine. You sign in at your child's school and you hand over your driver's license.
But if you haven't been to a school in a few years, you might not know that one of the improvements in security is a high-tech device linked to a scanner.
It's called the Raptor system and it scans those drivers' licenses and compares them to a database of the 700,000 registered sex offenders across the country.
In San Antonio, the North East Independent School District has used it for a number of years.
Linda Emory, who works at MacArthur High School, tells me she was the first one to get a "hit" or a match on the system. "And it was a sex offender. It was the parent of one of our students. And all I did was shrink the screen and asked for assistance from the administrator or campus security."
Emory has worked for NEISD for years and has seen and even felt some of the changes. "Parents are a little more edgy because of the times," she says. "I have changed after [the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting]. I want to see the driver's license. If you don't have it, you will not pass my desk. I'm very conscious of everybody that walks in the door now."
But she doesn't want to see anyone carrying guns on campus other than licensed police officers. "Absolutely not. Because you have to have the right temperament to own a gun, not just the ability to own a gun."
NEISD Police Officer Chris Pacheco agrees. "I feel that the police officer on campus should be the only one carrying a gun."
He says the extra training they go through ensures that they know what they're doing with a gun in this special environment, which has so many more people around who could be hit by any gunfire.
Officers also have a different mindset and a totally different role to play than teachers, especially at high schools. And the uniform itself makes a difference. "I'm here to protect the school and I want the kinds to see me," Pacheco says. "You know, I have the gun the badge and the cuffs. Ii have the baton so if anything happens I'll take care of the situation."
The NEISD has its own police officers assigned to each of its high schools and middle schools. They have more kids and usually much more serious problems than elementary schools. And with the size of their force, they just don't have enough officers to assign one to each elementary.
Rebecca Lopez is one of the district's patrol officers. They drive around to check on the elementary campuses.
"Are there enough people?" I ask her. "No," she says. "Never enough people. But we do what we can."
Lopez tells me she usually checks on eight to ten elementary schools every day. But that sometimes means she can spend only ten to fifteen minutes at each one.
On the bright side, each of the schools has more and better cameras than they used to. And the cameras are monitored at each school and the district's police dispatch center.
But as a mom as well as an officer, Lopez says she would like to see more police at elementary schools.
"Maybe not at every campus," she says. "But I do believe that we do need extra patrol. I think it is important. In light of everything that is happening, we just never know and we want to be prepared. I think lives are more important than money."
George Castaneda is the NEISD Police Chief and says the job changed in many ways over the past 20 years, and predicts the shooting at the school in Newtown will bring many other changes. "Pretty much everybody in the school district business is going to have to re-think the way they do their security about elementary," he says.
Castaneda says they're revising their plans all the time and they're looking at everything from high-tech video-monitored entryways, to more automatic door-locks throughout campuses, to entirely new designs for schools. And while there is talk about putting officers at every elementary school, that would cost millions. "Yes, you would probably be talking about doubling staff at most departments."
He says the biggest change we can all make right now to keep our kids safe every day -- is to just pay attention.
"I would ask parents everywhere to be aware of what your child is going through. Be aware of their technology.
Listen to your children. If your child comes home in the evening and talks to you about an incident they saw or... were made aware of that involves bullying or weapons. Or anything like that. Pay particular attention to it. To be able to do our job we need people to be our eyes and ears. If you see something wrong you need to report it, you need to tell somebody, I think that's the key."
Two years ago lawmakers in Austin cut $5 billion from the state's education budget. Right now they're looking at many bills which would affect everything in education, from school security to class sizes to taxes. We'll keep an eye on what's going on in Austin and here in San Antonio that affects your child's schooling and their safety.