About 60 people turned out Jan. 31 to share ideas about the future of the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice under the 2012 bond program, which will build or renovate schools across the district.
The meeting drew students, teachers, staff and alumni from the school, located on Dickson Road in HISD Board Trustee and Law Enforcement alumni Juliet Stipeche’s district.
Stipeche, who graduated as valedictorian from HSLECJ in 1992, encouraged audience members to share their ideas about facility needs during the planning phase of the new school.
“We have the opportunity to create law enforcement from day one,” Stipeche said. “I want the school to continue to succeed and offer all of its students the tools and the environment they need to be able to succeed.”
Rikki Willingham, a current senior at the school, won’t benefit from the new facility, but she told the audience a new campus could offer a lot of amenities for students.
“As we think about the kids of the future, we have to come to a realization that works now may not work with kids in the future because technology is rapidly expanding,” Willingham said. “We’re going to need a bigger library and bigger courtrooms so our teachers can have that hands-on learning experience with (students).”
Some participants expressed concern about the possibility of moving the school to a different site. Under the 2012 bond program, district officials have said they will use the proceeds from selling the current campus to fund a more modern facility.
Opened in 1981, the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice offers three curriculum departments including criminal justice, legal studies, and fire science technology.
Suggested ideas for the new facility include building a mock jail, adding a larger courtroom for instructional and municipal use, and creating a state-of-the-art forensics lab.
Stipeche added that regardless of the school’s future location, Law Enforcement will continue to promote academic rigor and develop leaders within the Houston community. “I know every student that attends the school has the passion in their heart to make the world a better place and make a difference in the community,” she said.
The High School for Law Enforcement is scheduled to be among those schools that begin the planning and design phase of the bond program in 2015. Construction of those schools should be under way sometime in 2016.
The district will be hosting many community meetings in the upcoming months to encourage students and residents to share their thoughts about what kind of schools they’d like to see in their neighborhoods.