'CONSTANT MEMORY': Santa Fe survivor writes emotional letter after learning bullet-shattered window still has not been replaced

Saturday, September 29, 2018
Santa Fe survivor writes emotional letter after learning bullet-shattered window still has not been replaced
Santa Fe survivor writes emotional letter after learning bullet-shattered window still has not been replaced

SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) -- More than four months after the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School, the campus still bears painful reminders of the bloodshed.

Substitute teacher Flo Rice was shot five times that day. She returned to the spot where she was hurt for the first time this week, along with Steve Perkins, whose wife Ann was also a substitute teacher and died in the attack.

"As we walked around and looked at it, I noticed the boarded up window," said Rice.

The window, pierced by gunfire that hurt her and killed Ann, had yet to be replaced.

"It was kind of a flood of emotions just remembering," said Rice. "It's a constant memory that never leaves the back of my head. I am always kind of there."

Rice's left femur was broken. Her right leg has painful nerve damage that hinders her rehabilitation.

She remembers dragging herself around the building to hide, seeing Perkins' body a few feet away.

"It's hard enough to repair yourself emotionally, but to see the physical building not even repaired seems to add to that," Rice told Eyewitness News.

She wrote a letter to the superintendent of Santa Fe ISD, posting it to Facebook as well.

It reads:

Dr. Wall,
After over 4 months I finally felt emotionally strong enough to return to the doorway at Santa Fe High School where I was shot. All the emotions rushed back to me. The disbelief as I was shot and fell through the back door, the horror of looking up to see Ann Perkins laying a few feet in front of me, then the panic of seeing my own leg twisted and broken and bullet holes through my jeans. I remember dragging myself to the corner of the brick wall and hearing the pieces of glass from the bullet shattered window above me continuing to fall through the gunfire.

I'm not sure what I was expecting to find upon my return. But it saddened me that the bullet shattered window was still boarded up and now the wood is turning grey with age. A construction zone sign is on the door with black plastic hanging behind it. It might as well state "War Zone". That is what it felt like to me and still resembles. The students have to see this boarded up window every day. It was a painful reminder to me of the same bullets that went through Ann Perkins and myself and shattered that window.
Did the district not receive enough funding to at least replace the window? I believe a "No Entry" sign would suffice as opposed to "Construction Zone".
I believe this should be repaired in a way that it is not a daily reminder to our students of that horrific day.
Mr. Perkins has graciously offered to replace the window at his expense since the district has not allocated funds to do so.
Flo Rice

"I wanted her to know. I wanted her to know, understand how I felt and the impact it had on me so she would understand these kids that have to go to school every day and see this," said Rice.

The district issued the following statement in response:

Why have the windows at the high school not been replaced?

The window system at the high school was determined to be replaced entirely due to damage in the framework of the existing window system. The new window system was part of the Division One change order that was approved at the July 10, 2018 board meeting.

The contractor, Division One, released the window company to begin engineering the new window system in July. The new window system had to meet current Texas Department of Insurance windstorm code and the engineering took about 3 weeks to complete. The shop drawings were submitted to Cre8 Architects and SFISD for approval on August 1, 2018. The shop drawings were approved and returned to Division One for manufacturing on August 8, 2018. SFISD, Division One, and Cre8 requested expedited delivery of this system at the time of ordering.

Due to the window system being windstorm certified and meeting the Texas Department of Insurance wind rating the glass takes 8 weeks to manufacture. The window system supplier also had some supplier/manufacturing delays these last two months. The window system was ready to install this past weekend but with rain chances above 30%, the contractor has opted to wait. The rescheduled date is Monday, October 1, 2018 to get the window system completed. If the rain chances are below 30% the contractor will install the new window system.
We want to continue to work with our families to address their concerns.

"I still feel that something else should have been done," said Rice.

She believes the district needs to speed up the construction process so everyone can continue the healing process.

"It was inconsiderate, unkind, unfeeling for this to be there," Rice told Eyewitness News.

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