Local 2's questions lead to lockdown policy changes within HISD

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:57:24 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 19 2013 09:47:19 PM CST

November 19,2013: When federal agents raided a home on Zavalla Street in southwest Houston, nearby Fondren Elementary was put on lockdown as a precaution. Mark Boyle reports.


When federal agents raided a home on Zavalla Street in southwest Houston, nearby Fondren Elementary was put on lockdown as a precaution.

Parents started calling the Local 2 newsroom asking for information but when we called HISD we received this response.

HISD's statement reads: "Given the number of schools we have and the number of incidents that HISD Police, HPD, and other law enforcement agencies in communities we serve, may be working at any given time, it is not our practice to confirm lockdowns or threats. We rely on principals to share information directly with parents whenever a situation warrants such communication."

Parents we talked with said the school principal, however, never reached out or sent messages about the lockdown Tuesday.

"Did the principal here ever contact you about the lockdown today?" reporter Mark Boyle asked one parent.

The parent said, "No sir. I didn't even know until I pulled up."

Another parent Margaret Hernandez  told us "I was scared, very scared. They should have called us and let us know what was going on."

So after several calls and emails, the school district reversed its policy and the new policy reads:

"The safety and security of our students is our top priority at HISD. As such, we understand that parents and communities need to be kept well informed of any potential threats on or near our campuses. In the case of school lockdowns, our practice is to reach out quickly to affected school and offer full communications support to principals. And while our local news services play a very important role in our communities, we feel that the direct contact from the principal to parents is the most important and first communication mode that the district should use.

Once parents have been notified of the lock-down or threat, HISD communications immediately thereafter will respond to media requests. Again, we understand the important role that media can play in keeping our community informed. As communications evolve and the speed that news travels increases, media partners are becoming ever more important to school district communications. Moving forward, HISD will look for additional opportunities to partner with local media to keep the community better informed."


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