A special message from Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan

Our hearts are still heavy as we mourn the senseless death of Cesar Cortes. The past days have been incredibly sad and difficult for the entire HISD community.

This afternoon, I met with students at Bellaire High School. I share the pain that I saw and felt from them today. We’re still asking why this tragedy happened.

I want our students and parents to know that their voices are heard. We share your concerns. I understand that a tragedy of this magnitude is scary. I am the parent of a child who attended Bellaire High School.

To parents: You have every right to be upset. You have every right to be concerned. We will continue to listen to you and engage in discussions with families. I want to be clear: The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority in HISD.

I want to share the following safety and security steps the district will immediately begin exploring:

  • We will assess all middle and high school campuses to evaluate the viability of installing metal detectors on campuses.
  • I have instructed all HISD campuses to immediately reconvene their safety and security council committees to review safety protocols and procedures.
  • I will be meeting with student representatives from our high schools in HISD to hear their concerns and ideas for school safety and security.
  • I am convening the district’s Key Community Leaders for a discussion on school safety and security. This group consists of business, government, faith, and other influential education leaders in the Houston community. We will discuss school security and hear from mental health professionals.
  • Additionally, to HISD parents, students, and community members: We want to hear from you. We want to solicit meaningful engagement. In the coming days, we will make available an online form for you to submit recommendations on how to increase campus safety and security. No suggestion will be too large or too small. Your recommendations could be general or specific to one campus. Please watch for an announcement on this in the coming days.

I want to comment on gun safety. A child should never have access to a gun. I implore gun owners to be responsible and keep guns locked and secured. Gun tragedies are preventable if weapons are properly secured and kept out of the hands of children.

Finally, I want to reiterate to all students, staff, and parents that the most powerful safety measure is you. If you see something, say something.

You may make anonymous reports to the Houston ISD Police Department any time, day or night, at https://www.houstonisd.org/police.

Thank you for your continued support.