Spring ISD says they're working to put procedures in place to keep kids safe
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- We're learning more details about Wednesday's fatal stabbing at Spring High School. This, as school officials and parents react to the violence.
Luis Alonzo Alfaro, 17, is charged in the murder of Joshua Devon Broussard, also 17. Investigators say Alfaro stabbed Broussard and three others during a fight in the school hallway. Authorities do not expect to file any more charges in the case.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office says they believe gang rivalry was the motive in Wednesday's violence, but they have not said how gangs were involved.
Meantime, we're trying to get Spring ISD officials to answer questions about why it took so long to get information out about the stabbing.
The district was criticized Wednesday for being slow to communicate with parents after the deadly stabbing. On Thursday, their communication effort took a turn for the worse.
"We're going to be working with the Spring High school administrative staff to open school on Monday to ensure our kids are able to return to a safe environment," said Chief Victor Mitchell with the Spring ISD Police Department.
After a brief news conference in which the chief of Spring ISD police told us school would be safe Monday, he wouldn't say how. And when we pushed him for answers on anything else, his officers physically pushed us away.
Not kidding. Uniformed officers pushed reporters away from the chief as he walked to his office, refusing to answer any questions from reporters.
Keep in mind, this is a day after it took Spring three hours to inform parents about the stabbing, first sending a voice and text alert to parents at 10:03am, three hours after the incident.
But certainly a Spring ISD public relations team that costs spring taxpayers nearly a million dollars a year was doing more than that.
Nope. Not a single message on Twitter from Spring ISD all day Wednesday, and not a single post on Facebook, and no answers Thursday from a district intent on not answering any questions.
"We will continue to communicate frequently with parents," said Spring ISD assistant superintendent in charge of communication Regina Boutte.
Boutte says they communicated with parents all day Thursday. It's a surprise to us. Parents haven't received a single word from them. As of this report, nothing new had been posted on their website since 6pm Wednesday.
For parents, the frustration is mounting. Parents like Peggy Morris and Cathy Armstrong showed up at Thursday evening's school board meeting in an effort to get answers, but they were left staring at empty seats when the board went into a closed discussion.
After the meeting we tried asking one more time for answers.
"Do you have anything to say to the parents?"
The board member leaving the room said, "We have no comment at this time."
"You'll get a comprehensive answer to your questions tomorrow morning," another told us.
A press conference is scheduled for 10am Friday. We'll see if they have more answers then.
When Laterrica Shepherd's son goes back to Spring High School Monday, into the same cafeteria where Broussard was stabbed to death Wednesday, she wants him to feel safe. Right now, that's not the case.
"They need more police officers out there, metal detectors, whatever they have to do to protect our kids," she said.
A number of parents and students told us that in recent years, the gang violence and racial tensions at Spring High School have spiraled out of control.
"I think over the last four-year period, this district has gone straight down," said parent Chris Wyatt.
Harris County sheriff's deputies now confirm two previous incidents at the school this week -- one on campus and one between two rival gangs.
Neither the school principal nor Spring ISD's chief would tell us specifically their plan to enhance school safety other than increasing patrol, which may not be enough for shepherd.
"We send our kids to school to learn and our kids are at school most of the day," she said. "And they spend more time at school than they do at home and they need to protect our kids."
Classes have been canceled at Spring High School until Monday. Many parents are hoping that during this time off, school officials will make some changes to security on campus.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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