The Santa Fe school board will vote Monday on recommendations from a security and safety committee to install metal detectors and change the district’s dress code policy.

The Santa Fe Strong Safety and Security Committee is made up of school district officials, law enforcement officers, parents and teachers. The committee has met three times to develop recommendations to improve safety and security in Santa Fe schools before the start of the school year.

Its deliberations began after a student shot and killed 10 people and injured 13 others at the Santa Fe High School on May 18.

Police have said the student was wearing a trench coat, a violation of the district’s dress code.

The committee in a meeting Thursday finalized some of its priority recommendations to the school board. The meetings are closed to the public, a policy district officials have attributed to safety concerns.

The committee’s facilitator, Laura Norman, referred questions about the recommendations to the school district. Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Patti Hanssard referred The Daily News to the meeting notes and the school board agenda.

During the Thursday meeting, members discussed priority recommendations necessary for the start of the school year, mental health support services and threat prevention, according to the meeting summary.

The consensus was to bring policy change recommendations related to metal detectors and dress code to the board, according to the notes.

“We need to do our very best to be ready for the start of school, and this is just the beginning of the work,” the summary stated.

The Santa Fe Independent School District board of trustees voted Tuesday night to spend about $1.5 million on a series of security updates at the high school, including replacing door locks, installing panic alarms and putting bulletproof windows in the front lobby.

The board also approved spending up to $650,000 to demolish and renovate the part of the high school where the shooting took place, officials said.

It was the first major approval of renovations since what was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history.

The school district on Monday will vote whether to accept donations for the installation and use of metal detectors in the school. The school board could also change the district’s dress code policy, but details about how the policy could change were not available Friday.

Since the shooting, two companies have offered to donate and install metal detectors at Santa Fe High School.

At least one of the members of the safety committee, school board Trustee Patrick Kelly, has been cool to the idea of installing metal detectors, which has drawn the ire of some residents, including the mother of a shooting victim.

During the Thursday committee meeting, members heard presentations from Melissa Tucker, chief executive officer of the Gulf Coast Center, and Julie Kaplow, director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Trauma and Grief Center, about mental health resources available. Tucker and Kaplow did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

The committee also met in groups to reach a consensus on issues such as social media monitoring and threat assessment, according to the meeting notes. But the committee is not yet bringing those recommendations to the board, according to the meeting notes.

Marissa Barnett: 409-683-5257;


Senior Reporter

(6) comments

Rusty Schroeder

Laura Norman is the facilitator of the closed to the public security council meetings. Could this be the school board president's wife by chance?

Louis Wortham

Does anyone remember the first Texas school shooting? Charles Whitman at UT, many similarities found in more recent events of this nature and no effective safety precautions have been introduced except allowing students to carry on campus. Install the metal detectors, enforce dress code, and allow select staff members to be armed.
Carol Wortham

Nancy Porter

Laura Norman works for Galveston County Office of Emergency Management and is no relation to the SFISD board president.

Rusty Schroeder

Thank you Nancy, that is good to know. I am hoping for a non-biased decision process by the "security council" , since transparency is lacking.

Jose' Boix

All the talks seems to be about the tools; we will install bullet proof windows, secure doors, perhaps metal detectors, etc. I would presume that the "powers that be" have first developed "the plan." Without a firm plan discussing the installation or thinking about the use of tools; even possibly arming staff is ludicrous in my mind.

It is fine to discuss enforcing - even tweaking existing policies and procedures regarding dress code, ID Badges; things that should have been enforced. Just my thoughts.

Jim Forsythe

You may want to check it out.

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