Editor’s note: HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza sent the following letter to HISD parents and staff in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shootings last week. For more on the district’s response, click here.
Dear HISD Community:
Our district joins the nation in mourning after the tragic loss of life at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Broward County Schools were among the first to step up to help our students, and today we stand in solidarity with them in the aftermath of this senseless attack.
We want you to know that the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. We continue to take proactive steps on every campus to ensure the effectiveness of our security measures and identify and address potential threats. The HISD Police Department and Risk Management Team are currently reviewing all emergency policies and procedures, and we will immediately begin increasing the number of drills that are conducted on every campus.
We are also establishing a new team trained specifically to respond to active threats and emergencies, and its members will be stationed throughout the district. In addition, the HISD Police Department conducts annual trainings for its officers on how to respond rapidly to an active shooter event, and in recent months the department provided its officers with additional safety equipment as a tactical response to potential threats on campus.
We also know that our students may experience emotional distress after learning of the tragedy in Florida or seeing images on television and social media, so we are making crisis counselors available to students on our campuses.
One of our first lines of defense is our community. We urge you to encourage your student to speak out if they see or hear of anything that could pose a threat to safety. Remind them that if they “See something, Say something,” and ask them to report their concerns to an adult.
I appreciate your support as we continue working to provide a safe and secure environment for teaching and learning on all of our campuses.
Richard A. Carranza