HISD to make security changes following Bellaire HS shooting

Nick Natario Image
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
HISD to make security changes following Bellaire HS shooting
WATCH: ABC13's Nick Natario tried to speak to the the interim superintendent Wednesday but she avoided questions, saying more would be addressed Thursday.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- More than a week after a deadly high school shooting, the Houston Independent School District interim superintendent addressed security in a new blog post, but wouldn't discuss when she faced reporters on Wednesday.

The day before, Superintendent Grenita Lathan wrote a blog post titled, "Focusing on safety and security of all HISD students." It was posted more than a week after a Bellaire High School student was shot and killed on campus.

She wrote that she's planning to meet with students on reconvening safety and security council committees on every campus. She also said the district is exploring adding metal detectors to the middle schools and high schools.

Lathan attended an HISD police swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday and ABC13 questioned her about her blog post.

READ MORE: Bellaire HS shooting suspect ordered to stay in custody for now

"We're actually going to go into further detail tomorrow," Lathan said. "I believe there was some information shared. I will be meeting with students at Bellaire and then I will also be taking some questions."

Following the Bellaire High School shooting, several students and parents shared concerns with ABC13 about how they were led out of the building. We asked Lathan if she's reviewed the school's response to the shooting.

"We will discuss that further on tomorrow," Lathan responded. "I really want to be able to spend time tomorrow to be able to share that and go in depth and respond to questions."

Andrew Dewey, executive vice president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, said Lathan shouldn't delay answering questions.

"That's even more frustrating for her to say she's going to have answers tomorrow," Dewey said. "As far as we know, she has not reached into the community to find out what the community wants."

SEE ALSO: Gun believed to be used in student's shooting death found

Dewey said the teachers' union supports the idea of metal detectors, but wants to see an overall security plan.

Right now, the district is in the middle of a fight with the state over control. The Texas Education Agency wants to take over the district and throw out the school board.

Knowing this, Dewey said it might explain the lack of answers.

"I don't know if there's any malicious attitude about it," Dewey said. "They don't want to speak and be wrong."

READ MORE: Judge temporarily blocks state takeover of HISD school board

ABC13 asked parents in Bellaire what they think of the idea of adding metal detectors to schools.

"I think it would be a good idea, but also it can bring in some other questions," parent Uma Sunkavilla said. "Is that metal detector similar to what we go through at the airport security, and is it going to cause a big ordeal?"

"I think that's a good idea," parent Beth Bradley said. "I think it's necessary. It doesn't have to be an invasive structure, but I think, 'Why not?'"

Lathan will meet with Bellaire students Thursday. She's expected to meet with the media in the afternoon.

READ ALSO: Bellaire HS shooting suspect told investigators where gun was, officials say

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