HOUSTON — With only 17 days left until HISD students and teachers return to the classroom, the superintendent's announcement that HISD police are not currently prepared for an active shooter is fueling more worries among teachers and parents.
"It's concerning," said Jackie Anderson, President of the Houston Federation of Teachers.
After last night's board meeting, teachers across HISD are preparing for a new school year with more anxiety than ever before.
"They have said to me in conversations that they're fearful about this type of thing happening, and they realize how easy it is to happen," said Anderson.
Superintendent Millard House II saying out loud what many teachers, Anderson says, have known for some time.
"It wasn't a surprise for me after teaching in HISD," said Anderson. "I know what they were working with. And I know it's not equipment needed for an active shooter."
Anderson says the scenes from the failed police response in Uvalde, officers waiting for more than an hour to kill the shooter, stuck in the minds of many teachers. She doesn't want to see that happen here.
She's calling on the board to move quickly to purchase the rifles, shields and ammunition the police chief says he needs.
"This doesn't need to be drawn out over five board meetings," said Anderson. "Other people are watching these board meetings too and they know now we're not prepared."
It's a call echoed by HISD parents too.
"Spend as much money as you need, we got a couple of weeks before school starts," said HISD parent Alex Yudovich. "It is priority number one that HISD police, Houston police, suburban police are all ready and know what to do in an active shooter situation."
Yudovich will send his young children back to school in weeks.
"Everyone is a little bit on edge," said Yudovich.
About 70% of parents in our KHOU 11 Back to School Survey tell us school security and safety is their top concern.
The group Houston Teachers United sent KHOU 11 News this statement:
“It is with great dismay that we witnessed the Superintendent publicly confirm last night that Houston Independent School District is not prepared to handle an active shooter situation. With over 800 Vacancies district-wide for Certified Teachers, and only 2 weeks until students are sitting in their seats, the very last thing we want to hear is that our leaders within the district do not feel that they are currently prepared to handle an active shooter situation."
Parents and teachers plan to push for answers before the first day back on August 22.
"I would hope Dr. House can address again how he feels HISD police readiness and preparedness is right before school starts," said Yudovich.