SANTA FE, Texas — As summer draws to an end, the Santa Fe ISD community braces for the return of school after a tragic campus shooting stole 10 lives from their community.
“There’s still a lot of anxiety, even my children have anxiety about going back to school and what is that going to bring,” Santa Fe Police Chief Jeff Powell said.
Boosting safety is at the top of the Houston area’s back to school list.
LULAC, the Houston Police Officers Union and several other organizations gathered near Downtown to promote their own fundraiser: a day filled with barbecue and music Saturday at the Galveston County fairgrounds.
“The net proceeds will pay for the necessary equipment that the Santa Fe law enforcement agencies need to protect our community,” LULAC District 18 Director Hugo Mojica said.
“Some of the things that we’re looking to do with any of these funds that are raised are, buy protective gear, including ballistic shields, helmets, and other things that will keep the officers safe and help keep the community safe,” Chief Powell said.
The announcement of Saturday’s event comes on the heels of a spirited Santa Fe ISD board meeting Monday night.
“You need to keep those guns in the hands of trained professionals and not the teachers whose job it is to educate and bring extra lunches not guns,” exclaimed one parent, who was met thunderous applause as she finished.
While the board didn’t directly discuss arming teachers Monday night, flyers distributed to the audience from an outside source pushed the issue. Some parents are for it— and others, not so much.
“This is a gun-free zone. If you let teachers bring a gun to school, that makes it a not gun-free zone,” parent Amanda Maxwell said.
Additionally, the board approved spending $75,000 donated from the Houston Astros Foundation to buy equipment for the Santa Fe ISD police.
They also voted to accept donated items for security that included 19 metal detectors, protective vests for police and eight AR-15 patrol rifles, complete with training for the full-time Santa Fe ISD police that will use them to protect the campus.
“Anything that keeps the officers safe and keeps the children safe I’m for, but that’s not my call to arm the officers, our department also has rifles that we use the officers buy them, the rifles themselves. We don’t provide them but, they are trained to use them. So in the appropriate instances it is an appropriate weapon to use,” says Chief Powell.
It seems everyone agrees school safety is a priority this fall. What some can’t agree on, is whether more guns in and around school property is the way to deliver on that safety promise.