Residents on Wednesday praised Galveston Independent School District officials for their response to the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Fla.

“We were reminded last week of the terror of mass shootings,” said Abel Longoria, who is part of the district’s facilities advisory committee. “We realize these are becoming more prevalent, but we don’t have to accept it. Therefore, I am so thankful for your foresight and recognition of security as a priority in this bond.”

Longoria’s comments came before Galveston school district police Chief LeeRoy Amador discussed safety procedures and Galveston Police Department Chief Vernon Hale talked about recent events.

“The threat is real,” Hale said.

The $31 million May bond referendum trustees called for in February sets aside about $2.95 million for districtwide security upgrades and LED lighting upgrades. Those security upgrades will include creating security vestibules at 13 campuses and replacing many of the district’s outdated security cameras.

Those inclusions are particularly prescient in light of recent events in Parkland, Fla., Longoria said.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, made national headlines when he shot and killed 17 students and teachers on Valentine’s Day at his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Since the incident, school districts across the nation, including at least three in Galveston County, have responded to rumors of similar threats against campuses.

The League City Police Department in a recent Facebook post said it was aware of a threat against students and faculty at Clear Creek High School.

The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, which handles security at the school, was contacted. The two departments provided extra patrols at the school, although the threat was believed to be a hoax.

At Galveston Independent School District, school officials were alerted to a social media rumor about someone causing a “severe disruption” at Ball High School on Feb. 27. The school investigated that threat, and determined it was a “false rumor,” according to a message sent to parents.

A Hitchcock High School student was charged Monday with a third-degree felony after being accused of telling classmates and a teacher he was going to turn the campus into another Parkland, police said.

Galveston school district officials Wednesday highlighted security measures.

Every school is monitored through a series of security cameras and district police officers watch social media and investigate the claims to verify or disprove them, Amador said.

Principals and staff at each of the district’s schools has to have a detailed plan for what happens in case of an emergency, Amador said.

Each school is also encouraged to have a drill for dealing with an armed intruder, Amador said.

One of the city’s goals is to connect with school officials and discuss security policies to make sure everyone is on the same page, Hale said.

Both Hale and Amador said there was a need for a meeting with stakeholders to discuss security procedures and ways to make schools safer in the future.

“We are constantly evaluating procedures,” Amador said.

Trustees called for Wednesday’s discussion shortly after learning about the shooting in Florida, President Matthew Hay said.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230;


(5) comments

Gary Miller

Safer schools? Replace "gun free" zone signs with "armed security on duty". Every teacher should be armed with a can of Grizzly bear pepper spray. It can stop a charging bear at 30 feet and should stop a shooter at classroom range.

PD Hyatt

I agree. Guns do not kill anyone it is the criminals that do the killing, after all when have criminals ever obeyed the law? Gun Free Zones just tell the thugs that it is open season as there will be no one to shoot back at them....

Dan Freeman

Security guards did not stop shootings in Florida or Kentucky this year.

Secret Service officers have protected the Presidents and candidates since President Williams McKinley was assassinated. They could not stop attempts on both Roosevelts, George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. And then there were the Kennedys...

Finally assault style rifles slaughter people by design. These are not for self defense but to maximize damage. "One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.

Carlos Ponce

The "security guard" in Florida heard the gunfire but did not enter the building nor confront the shooter. Scot Peterson then resigned after being suspended.
“Devastated. Sick to my stomach,” said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel in reaction to learning Deputy Peterson stayed outside as the shooting unfolded inside the freshman building.

Carlos Ponce

As to the Kentucky school shootings.
"Sandy Hook prompted Montgomery County to hire more full-time school security, which now includes three armed special law enforcement officers, one armed part-time officer and a civilian grounds monitor.While beefing up school security isn't a guarantee to stop every threat such as the one in Marshall County, the presence of officers is a welcome sight for many students."

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for Reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.