Parents, students say violence at school had escalated

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Tyler ISD confirms that before the school year at least a half dozen hall monitors were terminated as part of a new school security plan. This information is emerging after the death of a teacher who was stabbed at John Tyler High School Wednesday. Parents and students say that since the hall monitors were let go, on-campus violence has been escalating.

Parents and students said the incident really wasn't surprising. Several students and parents said it was just a matter of time before the security situation became so dire that it would claim a life. And, unfortunately, that tragic day came Wednesday.

Students say school fights are typical at John Tyler.

"What are we going to do about that, Angela and Dr. Reid (Tyler ISD officials)?" asked concerned parent Marcie Lee. "What are you going to do about the security we once had?"

Lee said that she has warned the administration repeatedly that it was just a matter of time before someone died.

"This school is not safe," said Lee. "We have been at them several times, and asked them not to take those monitors out of those halls, and they did it anyway."

One of the monitors let go before the school year made her way on-campus Wednesday to see what was going on. While she asked not to be identified, she is not hiding her story.

"It didn't surprise me, something like this would happen," said the East Texan. "We might not have been able to prevent it, but to the extent, we might have been able to help."

"Now, of course, they will have security because you had to lose somebody in order for it to be an issue," said Rhonda Smith. "You had to have, you know chaos for it to be an issue of concern, but it should have been here from day one."

Smith's daughter Lacey says she no longer feels safe in the classroom, let alone walking on campus.

"I'm moving schools," said Lacey Smith. "I can't be in this environment at all. I can't this. It's like making me insecure for education to get here. I can't just sit here no more."

Superintendent Randy Reid says the stabbing is an isolated incident.

"All reports suggest that it was a random act by an individual student," said Reid. "However, the district will have significant additional support and security at the campus for the foreseeable future."

Though, students say, considering the fact that a life was lost, an increase in security is a little too late.

"Last year, when I was a junior, everywhere the fights were started, there were security there to stop it," said Gerardo Arredondo. "And, they did a really good job. And now, this year, there's fights everywhere and there's nothing to stop it."

According to Tyler ISD there will be an increased presence of the Tyler Police Department Thursday and for the foreseeable future. Superintendent Reid mentioned that the district is considering adding metal detectors on-campus. Also, the district will have several counselors standing by for students and staff as needed.

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