In the sorrow-filled wake of an inexplicable mass execution of Connecticut children, the Houston Independent School District has the extraordinary chance to make a difference.
With nearly $2 billion bond dollars to construct 42 structures, HISD has the means to design and build from the ground up the most secure generation of schools the nation has yet seen.
HISD'S Robert Sands is the top manager of the massive building program - a slate of construction that will generate 20 brand new high schools, campuses that must be substantially safer than those they replace.
Sands says Houston parents are demanding it.
"That is a top priority. It's about how are you going to secure? How are we going to protect from intruders coming into the building and what happens once they get into the building," said Sands.
In what has been described as a highly competitive process architectural design teams and engineers have been tasked to incorporate security innovations and materials inspired by hard learned lessons.
Security expert Hannan Yadin, who learned his trade in Israel, says HISD has an opportunity to build campuses that attackers will not see as "soft targets".
"The lesson to be learned from what happened in Sandy Hook was it was so easy to enter the school, so easy to get into the school, so easy to kill those children," said Yadin.
But can these safer school be built without looking like prisons? Sands says absolutely with the aid of new technology and creatively intelligent design.
"We still need to build in security that doesn't look like security, but it actually is a protection that can keep the intruders from coming in," said Sands.