HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A sign posted outside Hogg Middle School reads, "Unsupervised students are not allowed on campus after school. Failure to comply may result in charges of Criminal Trespassing."
A Facebook post condemning the warning has garnered dozens of comments and shares.
Posted on the independent page called "HISD Parent Advocates," the author criticized campus administrators for threatening students who have nowhere to go after school.
Hogg Middle School Assistant Principal Dr. Andre Houghton says there is more to the posting.
"We do understand why parents would see a sign and kind of be worried," Houghton said.
He says this warning is not new and has been posted for several years.
Houghton tells ABC13 that since the posting, they have never actually caught students loitering to the point of calling police.
Principal Angela Sugarek responded to the original Facebook post, explaining she put the sign up after the school was vandalized several years ago.
At the same time, she created an after-school program with a sliding fee.
"What we don't want is groups of students who are unsupervised," Sugarek said. "They are kids, teenagers and becoming teenagers, and we know that they can sometimes make poor choices. We wouldn't want a poor choice to become something bigger than it needs to be."
Houghton tells ABC13 they also have after school clubs, sports teams and tutoring, so no student is left with nowhere to go.
The school says the warning may appear controversial, but was posted to protect students.
"In the past, HISD facilities have been burglarized, in some cases, by students, and unfortunately, what happens is when a student does that, it's an automatic referral to an alternative school. Schools don't actually have a lot of leeway in determining punishment on campus for that student. However, if you do post signage, you could theoretically charge a student with criminal trespassing. That is a much lesser charge and would ultimately allow us to keep that in-house," said Houghton.
We reached out to the Facebook page administrator for "HISD Parent Advocates," but he declined to comment.
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School sign warns charges for students caught on campus after hours
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