TISD holds press conference for teacher death update

TISD Superintendent Randy Reid
TISD Superintendent Randy Reid

Released by Tyler Indepentent School District:

TYLER, TX - I would like to take this opportunity to address current status at the John Tyler campus, the criminal investigation of the juvenile involved, and the safety concerns voiced by the community.

District Administrators held an early morning meeting with all campus staff today to discuss the tragedy which occurred and explain the plan of action for today.

Principal, Dr. Carol Saxenian, began the school day with a moment of silence to remember our beloved teacher, Mr. Todd Henry.  Counselors were brought in from across the District to visit with each first period class and to give students an opportunity to address their feelings.  Counselors were also available throughout the day for any student or staff who needed additional support.

We were thankful that the vast majority of our staff and students were in attendance today.  The campus has 15 staff members, of approximately 150 teachers, who were out today, however 8 of those were for prescheduled training.  Our student attendance appears to be down by approximately 9 percent over normal attendance rates.

An update on criminal investigation:

The criminal investigation of the juvenile involved is still ongoing and is being referred to the Smith County District Attorney's Office for prosecution. As the criminal case involves a juvenile offender, we are limited as to the amount of information that we may release.  However, we do want to emphasize again today that this event occurred in a small classroom setting in which there were three students and two adults.  All reports indicate that the attack was entirely unprovoked while the students were completing their morning work.   There were no warning signs as to the action the student was about to take.  We would also like to restate that this event was unrelated to any other student incident.  All reports suggest that it was a random act by an individual student.

Safety and Security Concerns:

Yesterday a number of security concerns were expressed by staff and community members.

I would like to take a minute to address those concerns.  In general, John Tyler has a significant level of security available.  This includes two full-time Tyler ISD police officers, two-way radios for the use of administrators and security personnel, 70 building surveillance cameras, and a principal and six administrators on campus.

Beginning the second week of school, five additional support personnel were provided for monitoring the hallways during the school day.  Additional radios have been delivered to be distributed throughout the building to provide teachers with immediate accessibility to campus administration and security personnel.

Building staff members have been developing a plan for further considerations to enhance security in the building.  These discussion have included items such as:

  • Golf carts for mobility around the campus
  • Additional surveillance cameras
  • Personnel to monitor those cameras

Discipline interventionists who specialize in working with struggling students