The Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Texas approved spending $2 million to equip district police officers with firearms, ammunition, and protective gear.
HISD school board held a meeting on Thursday night to discuss whether or not to approve $2 million in funding for additional resources for district police for possible active attacks.
Superintendent Millard House II supported the decision to approve the funding by stating that it will make the district as prepared as possible in the event of an active shooter situation.
“I think there are very few school districts that are prepared for an active shooter with an automatic weapon,” Millard said in a news conference Wednesday. “That’s a very different type of perpetrator.”
Many parents were concerned after the Uvalde school shooting, which killed at least 19 students and 2 teachers.
Millard claims that it had been planned for some time before the Uvalde massacre, but that the tragedy prompted a heightened sense of urgency.
HISD is the largest school district in Texas.
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Opposers of the move who spoke during public comment Thursday night say there should be more of an emphasis on filling teacher and counselor gaps in the district with the funds.
“The time is to invest in those community-based alternatives to policing that make students feel connected,” says Travis Fife of the Texas Civil Rights Project. “Students are safest when they feel connected and have a genuine interest in the classrooms.”
Many parents and teachers also gave their take on the issue. Local teacher Jessica Flores agreed with Fife.
“We need school safety to be centralized before we consider adding rifles, how do we address the problem?”
Recently, Millard House said that HISD’s police were not prepared in the event of a school shooting crisis, and adding 200 rifles, ballistic plates, shields, and ammunition would better qualify their officers.
Police Chief Pete Lopez said after reviewing what happened in Uvalde, additional equipment would give him more confidence in his officers to respond properly.
He also says the new equipment purchase will happen immediately.