LA MARQUE  — A student was arrested and charged with a felony crime Wednesday morning after a loaded handgun was found in his backpack, school officials said.

The student was called into the principal’s office after another student warned administrators about the gun, Superintendent of Schools Terri Watkins said.

The principal and high school security officers took the student from class and searched his backpack, Watkins said. Officials reported finding a loaded .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol in the backpack, La Marque Police Department Sgt. Shawn Spruill said.

Once the gun was found, La Marque police were called, and the student was taken into custody. Jerome Jeray Joiner, 17, is charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon within a weapon-free zone, a state jail felony. His bond was set at $5,000.

Classes continued as normal, Watkins said. Students at the high school were taking end-of-course exams and state STAAR tests, she said

Parents were notified through a phone alert, she said. 

It was unclear why the boy brought the gun to school and whether he intended to use it while on campus, Spruill said.

The student had transferred to the high school from another part of the county this semester and teachers and administrators did not know him well, Watkins said. 

The response to the incident by the school staff and students was swift and went just as they have trained, Watkins said. Students are told to let teachers know if they hear of something suspicious, she said.

“It worked so beautifully, like we train the kids to do,” Watkins said. 

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or


(34) comments

Robert Buckner


George Croix

Been too long since this would have been a surprise...

Walter Manuel


So you mean the principal at the high school actually did her job for once and didn't turn yet another incident over to one of the coaches that always handles all of her discipline problems at the high school??? I'm shocked!

Now I have to wonder if this incident will appear on any "police activity log" within the district since they love to hide stuff from the state and our community.

Everyone should have known that this gun incident was just a matter of time with these students seeing how the students know that the security company that the district hired isn't going to do anything in comparison to what our own police department used to do!

I'm glad that no one was hurt, but this should be a huge wake up call for all of the parents of students and the employees of LMISD! [angry]

Lars Faltskog

Well, I thought the going thing nowadays was to disallow backpacks or only have "clear" backpacks. Sounds like that should be implemented/enforced.

Then again, with those kinds of policies, what do girls do in regard to their purses?

Ron Shelby

A gun can be in a jacket or loose pants... clear backpacks are not really a solution without metal detectors, security gaurds, etc.. There's an underlying problem, possibly with the individual here, that needs to be identified and addressed.

Carlos Ponce

A principal or on campus police officer may ask a girl to empty her purse if there is just cause to suspect there is something illegal in it. Refusal to do so could lead to disciplinary action depending on the district. One girl once pulled a bag of marijuana out in the middle of my class. I told her to put the bag back in her purse and I escorted her to the principal's office. In the office I asked her to open her purse and unload the goods. She complied.

Walter Manuel

Lars, remember, we're talking about LMISD here, where those "rules" don't apply just so long as they can get the students to show up to school before 10 o'clock in order to be accounted for even if they are packing their guns....

I'm quite sure the district will use this gun incident as an excuse as to why so many students did so poorly today on their STAAR and End of Course tests even when some of them were at a different campus! [yawn]

Ron Shelby

Loaded Gun??? A ZERO tolerance situation. I feel sorry for the parents, they may have had nothing to do with it (meaning securing a gun in the house) but they need to be questioned to be sure. This really sucks.

Ron Shelby

Sad part is that really good teachers have their pick of places to go, and many would avoid schools with incidents like this. Downward spiral if not corrected.

J. Shaffer

The district will lose another fifteen students to other districts when this news reaches parents. They won't keep kids in a district with danger as well as low academics.

La Marque is a beautiful little community with several things going for it (location, location, location.... and a great mayor) but until they fix the schools they will have problems attracting families with children.


Well, I'm going to say this and I hope nobody fly the coop when I say it, because I know all the talking points concerning being in possession of a deadly weapon at school! I ought to,..I've seen it up close, and even helped to investigate the whys and reasons why such thing would transpire.
Now having said that, I will invoke JBG's sixth law out of the nineteen in existence! I hope nobody is keeping up with these laws, because I have not copyrighted them yet. This one I quote quite often on this forum so everybody should be familiar with this law.
6) "You don't kill grass by mowing it, because two week later you will have the same problem!" JBG, what's your point? Okay, I'll tell you. I'm not going to criticize that young man for wanting to protect himself if that was the case, where he was getting "BULLIED"....intimidated continuously and had reported it and NOTHING WAS DONE ABOUT IT! If he was threaten at that same level by someone else, what would he be expected to do IF HE REPORTED IT AND IT WAS NOT STOPPED? I don't know, the story did not say,...neither am I, but I'm just saying........
Now,...if that was the case, then the ROOT of the problem is not that a gun was confiscated on campus, the ROOT OF THE PROBLEM IS AN ANTI-LEARNING ENVIRONMENT EXISTS AT LMISD! Having said that,..this is not the only school district where a gun has been confiscated on campus,...let me make that clear! I think I have read reports on at least TWO others around here,...and I won't even bring up HOUSTON!
So just like you can't kill grass by mowing it,...but you must go to the ROOT of the grass, and poison it with some ROUNDUP, can't maintain straight up satisfactory learning environment at a school if there is NO,....discipline!!!!! You can't do it, if the rules of the schools and laws of the state are NOT ENFORCED,..thereby protecting those who come to school, to learn! Lord how many years have I been harping on this! It is one of the BIG reasons, this district started the downward trend in the first place, and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong! It was not bad academics at first, that came later! I have always said, that a lack of discipline in any institution will bring forth chaos. Bad academics is just a fruit springing up from the root!
I have talked to relatives and countless others who fled this district years ago, and one of their BIG REASONS for leaving were lack of discipline in the classes, down the hallways, and around the schools as well as school activities!
Say what you will,.... or say what you may,....if a child is getting beat-up on and continuously bullied, he/she has a right to protect themselves against all threats, coming against their LIFE, if nobody else is going to do it for them!
Somebody needs to say Amen to that!!!!!

George Croix

If that is the case, then I agree that it's better judged by 12 than carried by six.
Lip service by those supposed to keep order doesn't do squat to deter disorder.
Flip side, if the kid is part of the school's problem, then he should be made to see the error of his ways.
Until this school district stops trying to be a social experiment, a conclusion I draw based on too many comments by too many poeple made in that direction, and gets back to trying to be a place to learn rather than excusing bad behavior, I expect more of this.
Hope I'm wrong...
Maybe the right folks will wake up and realize that


Very well said gecroix, and an explanation I totally agree with. It is one of the reasons, I find the task of turning this district around insurmountable. There is simply to much to straighten out in a short period of time. Given the immense, vast,extensive size and numbers of things which needs changing,...I cannot see it happening. I'm just been honest and frank about it.
I've been wrong once before,...back in nineteen fifty-five I think,...but I don't think I'm wrong on this.

robert kemp

Psst...don't tell anyone that I'm a passed graduate of LMISD...I surely don't..The school district sure has gone in the toilet the last few years, no wonder everyone has moved out of town to surrounding communities. The whole town is a total disgrace but that's only my opinion....Glad my kids did not go there !!!!!!!!!

George Croix

I'm a 1969 grad of LMHS and quite proud of it.
Just as I accept no blame for what other people did in the past, I also accept none for what they've done leading to this current mess.
It hasn't been all that long ago that coming out of the LMISD was a step, a big one, toward the opportunity to make good use of a great public education, and continue on the path of good citizenship.
Right now, I won't say that it can still be that way. Too many 'ifs'...
I think Jbgood is right that inertia is just not going to be overcome.
It would take some miracle in which the people who want to live in a fantasy land that never existed, or think that wanting something to be is the same as it actually being, get their B-hinds out of the way.
I don't recall who said it first so can't give proper credit, but someone recently opined that you can't expect politicians to stop trying to fool people because they spend most of their time fooling themselves.
IMHO, he could have been talking about the contemporary LMISD, too...

Leon Lion

I'm from the class of 1968 gecroix and I agree wholeheartedly. What a sad state of affairs for what was once one of the greatest school districts in the State of Texas.

Do you ever wonder why this board is so reluctant to resign? I hope the TEA brings in an outside auditor one of these days to go over all the finances line item by line item. [sad]

George Croix

No, I never wonder that.
Why should they resign.
They think they're doing the will of 'the community', as it's been described, which is what they were elected by them to do.
Or, so it appears to me...

Walter Manuel

Well when you have an elementary school p[rincipal sending home letters to parents threatening to give their child a "3 day out of school suspension" if they are caught using rubber bands for anything else except for making necklaces and other crafts for which they were intended to be used for, then they obviously have a bigger problem with discipline in their schools than their admitting! Period!

How do you expect to curtail your discipline problem in the schools when your ONLY two officers are over at the high school and the teachers certainly don't have time to teach AND handle the discipline problems of all of these students?

At least when we had our own police department on the campuses the students at least saw their presence and perhaps it did have some effect on some of the students?

I blame this incompetent school board for their poor decision to play politics over the safety and well being of our students. It's really just that plan and simple for everyone to NOW see!

What a bunch of pathetic people this community managed to vote into office in order to intentionally run our school district into the ground! [angry]


I think you are right Mr. Manuel. I think it is all over accept for the epilog! The State need to do the right thing and bring some relief to these kids taxpayers and this community. It is high time. I talked to a recent LMISD grad at a convience store and asked her about her LMISD experience and she did not rate them very well!
It was like , "It was the best I could do!"


I really feel bad for these kids who leaves here and have to go out and compete against kids from PISD...FWISD ...CCISD TCISD ..& GISD for jobs or college spots!!

Walter Manuel

Your absolutely right Mr. JBG, this is just a down right disgrace and shame what has happened to our once proud and outstanding school district!

Obviously this board and school district officials have NO shame or enough common sense to see that they have misearbly failed not only our students, but our entire community and they ALL need to resign immediately in order to force TEA to finally take over!

Walter Manuel

Lots of people have been contacting me last night and this morning asking the same question?

Did this young man have behavior problems at another school district as to why he transferred to LMISD seeing how LMISD will take anybody and everybody including those with behavior problems unlike other schools districts?

It would seem especially benefical to the district that someone from the school or district would make it a point to "get to know" a student a little better who transfers to the district close to the end of the school year in order to make sure that they are adjusting well to their new school and social environment.

I suppose it is really all about the numbers and money for these people over at LMISD and to hell with what happens to the students!

When we had our OWN police department, OUR officers made the arrest themselves and filled out all of their own paperwork, contacted the DA'soffice for charges AND transported the student to the appropriate police department, they didn't call the LM PD to do their job!

I guess at the end of the day, we all are really getting exactly what they are paying for.... NOTHING! [sad]


"I'm from the class of 1968 gecroix and I agree wholeheartedly. What a sad state of affairs for what was once one of the greatest school districts in the State of Texas."
"Do you ever wonder why this board is so reluctant to resign?"
"No, I never wonder that."
"Why should they resign."
"They think they're doing the will of 'the community..."
I'm glad you gentlemen invited me in on this question! This school board is a "JOKE" ....and beyond an embarrassment! It beats me why anybody with an iota's worth of concern for a child's future would THINK, about,..( let alone making an attempt at ) enrolling that child in a school district this dysfunctional and underachieving. Opportunities to participate in almost anything there is so limited it is not funny. I'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE----NO I'VE LIVED THIS BEFORE!!!! It's SICK-NI-FY-ING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It would seem to me there is something deeply embedded over there where they are afraid of competition. In my opinion, if the State would agree to lower the state standards of education for them tonight at 10pm tonight,...instead of being insulted they would probably throw a street party,...dancing and partying like crazy into the late morning! They just don't get it! The ship is going down,...and they are not even concerned.
This kind of production and job performance is totally unacceptable or should be unacceptable,...but in LMISD it is not. Let Jack win three games this season and see WHAT HAPPENS TO HIM! Hah? HaH? Let me say that again. I said let Coach Jackson win just three games next year and see, how many people come out of the woodwork, complaining!
Excellent priority we have here in this community, right? Like it or lump it,...these kids will have to compete "STRAIGHT-UP" with kids from other school districts who in all probability are nowhere close to being as BAD, AND UNDER-PERFORMING as LMISD, and I'm talking about locally, nationally and internationally! That means wherever they go,..wherever they travel,...what LMISD is doing to them will follow them the rest of their lives! ( sic)
It is like running a one hundred meter dash, and one man in the race comes out far-far-far behind all the rest of those in the race, because all his coach could give him to run in was FOOTBALL cleats. How in the HELL is that man supposed to even THINK about winning the race? Tell me that!!!!
We had this spirit of "PHARISEE" this community before, and some dedicated stewards of this community STOOD UP TO AND FOUGHT,..the majority of those with that spirit, and change came about! However you cannot KILL A SPIRIT! A SPIRIT NEVER DIES! It will lay low, for a while to see if you are paying attention, and minding the store!!! Therefore, have to be ever sober, and vigilant, for at a time you think not,...THAT SAME SPIRIT YOU KICKED IN THE BUTT AND DEFEATED in one generation,....will rise up again and attack you in another generation, if you don't pay attention to business! This community has not PAYED ATTENTION TO BUSINESS!
A spirit of INCOMPETENCE,...APATHY,...and LACK,... is operating in LMISD again, as it did back in the sixties and nobody but a few who can see that spirit gives a dam!
Money! The love of money! Selfishness,... If this was the best I could do, I would have resigned back when the slide first stated. This district is officially in shambles,...and desperation!
It is a shame to see these kids get shafted like they are here. I personally could not work for an organization responsible for systematically "robbing" young kids of the opportunity to obtain a quality education,...on their way out into a cruel, unforgiving world, with no more "QUOTA systems, with no more ...AFFIRMATIVE ACTIONS, handouts,..provided by "UNCLE SUGAR" (credit to mr. ponce) bail them out!
This is 2014, and it is all so pathetic, naw,...this is "UNCONSCIONABLE" see a gerrymandered voting arrangement, meant for something good, but transformed into something abominable!


Somebody need to say Amen! I'm glad Dr. King is DEAD, and in his grave, so he cannot see this humiliating fiasco!! Just know this,...I'm throwing this in for free,..if anybody asks me where I'm from, the future,...I'm saying Texas City or Galveston!

George Croix

You do a person less harm by slapping them across the face than by assuming that they are incapable of doing better. Better to punch them in the nose than to hand out rewards that were not actually earned by personal effort.
Life is pretty unforgiving. I often wonder what will become of children, once they get into the real world, who have been passed along through school despite not learning, and who have gotten trophys just for 'participating' at some thing or other.
Here's a clue:
The will to win is a vital part of survival, whether physically or financially or whatever.
Taking away a person's will to win by pretending that everyone can be a winner just by showing up and breathing is a terrible thing to do to another human being.

Walter Manuel

Amen Mr. JBG and Mr. Gecroix!

Very well said! [thumbup]

When a district has teachers quitting right before the end of the school year, you know there's deeper problems than everyone's being led to believe.

No one even wants to talk about the "learning curve" that so many people have been talking about for a while, where if a student can only make a 70 then that's a 100 for him/her and that's how their graded.

I hope to high heaven that this is not being done to ANY child within the LMISD school district for their sake!

Walter Manuel

Several parents and concerned citizens biggest question has been "what happened to the districts policy on clear or mesh backpacks"?

Perhaps the district could have prevented this incident from happening in the first place had everyone been doing their jobs.

I suppose rules and policies for these people at LMISD is to simply put something into place in order to fill up a book binder and look as though their doing something proactive while this incident certainly proves otherwise.

So, at the end of the school year will we NOW start seeing the mandated "clear or mesh backpacks, no wheels"?

Robert Buckner

This incident surely will not help enrollment numbers. Will there be more pizza parties this summer? Chicken dinners? Where will the next round of funds come from?

Walter Manuel

LOL Robert, after this year when the STAAR and End of Course test results come in there won't be a need for any of those occasions that you mentioned.

Perhaps we might throw the school board members a huge going away party at our expense!

Count me in! [beam]


There is nothing right about what is happening, and what has happened here. It is just that people have sat around and observed insufficiency,..and incompetency in it's most complete, pure,..and potent form, operating here dragging our children down the sewer,...( Many of whom do not even recognize, nor understand the damage being perpetuated against them....YET!!! ).....and almost everyone else have remained quiet, and said nothing! Why? Was it money? Was it fear? Did the fear of lost salaries, or lost of tithes and offerings have anything to do with the perpetual silence to all of what has happened here, those who claim to be leaders and servants of the LORD?
Check it out,...God will always preserve a remnant who will check the devil, and who will speak out for right! Think I'm lying,...better check it out!! Joshua and Caleb spoke out against the other ten spies who were to afraid to stand for right! David, stood up to a NINE FOOT giant who had thousands of Israelites soldiers shaking in their sandals! Noah stood up when everybody else was mocking him and God!
When Opal turned aside from Naomi and returned to her heathen land, RUTH swore she would follow Naomi always, and adopted her God and her ways! When the children of Israel were coming out of Egypt,... sinned in the desert, Moses called all those who wanted to do right to come to him,...and leave the other arrogant &***^&* behind!
Korah and Dathan and those who they deceived to go against Moses were quickly separated from those who chose to do right and follow Moses. Korah and his whole following were swallowed up through a giant hole in the earth and sent to HELL alive!
( See NUMBERS 16 ).
There is still time to do what is right! This almost concludes my lesson for to day! DO IT!!!!!
I say all that to say this, Though we are not able to read minds and discern heart, nor the hidden intents,..and secret thoughts of others,..however,...we do retain the wherewithal to know RIGHT from WRONG! What is happening in LMISD is wrong:
Jeremiah 17:10:
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
Payday is not everyday for being wicked and doing evil,..BUT PAYDAY,...will come:
Ecclesiastes 8:11
11) "When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong. 12)Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. 13)Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow."


I'm talking to preachers too! Let there be no mistake about that! I'm proud to be well able to do it to!

Walter Manuel

"Let there be no mistake about that! I'm proud to be well able to do it to"!

LOL, Mr. JBG! Yes sir indeed you are well prepared to go against the best of them!

Again, very well put! [thumbup]

Antony Freeman

What a dumbass. He hasn't even finished school and already has a criminal record involving a firearm.


Education is a PRECONDITION to survival in America today.
---Marian Wright Edelman,..Advocate For Disadvantage People.
NOTHING... should be overlooked in fighting for BETTER education. Be PERSISTENT and ORNERY: this will be good for the LETHARGIC educational establishment and will aid the whole cause of PUBLIC EDUCATION.
--------Roy Wilkins American Civil Rights Activist, from 1920 to the 1970s.
"Knowledge and education, helps an individual to have perception, to dream, and to think out of the box. A first class education allows the possessor of it, LOOK beyond the trees of ignorance into the forest of unknown progress." ----JBG ( 2013 )
( Dr. JBG is a resident of Texas City & Galveston. His Doctor Of Smacktology degree was conferred on him by the Galveston County SmackTalkers Assoc. )

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