DISD Shooting Prompts New Security Measures

Dallas ISD Police Unit
Dallas ISD Police Unit I Image by Dallas ISD Police Department/Facebook

The Dallas Independent School District has announced the rollout of new security protocols in the wake of its recent school shooting.

An investigation into the April 12 shooting at Wilmer-Hutchins High School revealed “areas where we must improve to keep our schools safe,” a DISD news release stated.

A probe into the incident revealed that a 17-year-old student named Ja’kerian Rhodes-Ewing apparently managed to bring a handgun onto campus and shoot a fellow student in the upper thigh.

“Our investigation revealed the handgun was brought into the school during the late entry process during which several safety protocols were not strictly followed,” read the release.

“The metal detectors worked. Everything worked correctly,” Maxie Johnson, DISD trustee, said, per Fox 4 KDFW. “It wasn’t a malfunction of the machines, anything. This is simply the safety protocols that the board of trustees have implemented, the administration have implemented was [sic] not followed on the campus.”

As covered in The Dallas Express, several students from Wilmer-Hutchins said as much when they staged a walkout once classes resumed at the high school on April 15.

Another shooting this month in nearby Arlington ISD’s Bowie High School demonstrates the risks involved in lax security protocols. As reported in The Dallas Express, 17-year-old Julian Howard allegedly shot 18-year-old Etavion Barnes five or six times outside near one of the school’s buildings, killing him.

According to DISD officials, security personnel and staff will be retrained on using wands and inspecting backpacks, reported Fox 4. Schedules will also be amended to ensure adequate personnel are there to monitor students going through the metal detectors at arrival and dismissal on campuses districtwide, according to Fox 4.

“Schools should always be safe havens, and we are proud of our students and team members who have stepped up to be part of the solution,” the district said in the news release. “It takes all of us working together to eliminate what has become all too common.”

An off-campus shooting incident recently led another DISD campus — Roosevelt High School — to close on April 26 after two students sustained gun wounds while being driven home by their football coach. As reported in The Dallas Express at the time, another vehicle had pulled alongside theirs and opened fire, striking one student in the neck and another in the back of the arm and shoulder. They have both been hospitalized and are in stable condition.

Due to hiring and funding constraints, DISD was unable to meet the new state mandate requiring an armed peace officer to be at each campus as of September 1, 2023 — despite having a history of gun-related incidents on district campuses. A commissioned security officer earns at least $39,000 in his first year, while armed security officers with valid Texas Peace Officer Licenses may earn as much as $61,000.

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