Reported criminal trespassing at Bellaire HS prompts confusion between police and school officials

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Friday, March 3, 2023
Questions rise over communication after Bellaire HS lockdown
Questions remain about what happened when students at Bellaire High School went into panic, and the amount of time it took to fill parents in on the situation.

BELLAIRE, Texas (KTRK) -- A lockdown at Bellaire High School Thursday had parents and students panicking.

Houston Independent School District officials now say police were called out on a report of a gun on campus, but officers said they never found one. But, the district isn't giving more details students and parents are asking for.

Students at Bellaire High were in fourth period when police rushed in.

"The principal went off on the intercom and was like, 'Guys, we're in lockdown.' We were like, 'Oh.' We thought there was some type of drill," senior Hala Al Najdawi said.

Students frantically texted each other and their parents, who left work and rushed to the school.

"I just get crazy, you know?" Anna Valasques, a student's mother, said. "Many things have been happening in other schools, so it's really devastating just to receive a text message saying, 'Mom, I'm trying to hide, and somebody is in the school.'"

"Out of nowhere, everybody starts saying it's not a drill, and everybody started panicking for a while, Velasques' son, Ryan Davalos, said.

Rumors were flying, but nobody told students or parents what was going on. Houston ISDs media office didn't return calls to Eyewitness News for two and a half hours. Then, they sent a response, saying there was a report of a gun on campus, but a search turned up nothing.

According to HISD, nobody was arrested, but officials there still haven't confirmed if anybody was questioned or detained.

"We think it's a drill. Then an hour later, we're like, 'It's probably not a drill.' Then the fire alarm goes off, and they're like, 'Oh, it's a false fire alarm.' Then all the teachers talk about how this is all real stuff," senior Carlo Masciangelo said.

"People were just sending messages to each other, that's all we were doing," senior Abir Omer said. "So, as you can imagine, it's different stories, so we really don't know exactly what happened."

Thursday marks just over two weeks since another police incident where a former student got into Bellaire High with a gun in his backpack. He was taken into custody, but parents weren't notified until the day after.

At that time, HISD officials told Eyewitness News the school was reviewing safety protocol.

"Nobody tell us anything. We were just worried, texting, calling," Velasques said. "I was so worried to call him, because I didn't know (what) the situation was like inside of the school."