A security screening conducted at a Keller ISD school on Tuesday morning apparently uncovered a firearm as well as a controlled substance in the backpack of an 18-year-old student.
Armando Jozel Lopez-Nevarez allegedly took off when an employee flagged what they thought was a gun at the Keller Compass Center. The building houses both the New Direction High School and the district’s disciplinary alternative education program. It is unclear which one the suspect was attending.
Keller police officers responded almost immediately to the scene upon fielding the 911 call, according to The Dallas Morning News. They took Lopez-Nevarez into custody shortly thereafter.
Although Lopez-Nevarez was believed to have tossed the weapon while he was being chased, it was found by officers, who reported that it had been loaded.
Safety protocols on school campuses in Texas have been the subject of much scrutiny ever since last year’s fatal shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
Some public school districts have opted for high-tech ways to shore up safety, such as Mansfield ISD’s new AI-driven weapons detection system rolled out in high schools this year, as previously covered in The Dallas Express. Although such initiatives can be expensive and are not failproof, students have responded favorably.
Others, such as Dallas ISD, have employed some less high-tech solutions, such as instituting a clear backpack policy on all campuses. The measure has been called out by some district parents who question its efficiency and overall impact on students’ morale, as reported in The Dallas Express.
On the state level, a law was passed this year requiring an armed security officer to be stationed at every public school in the state.
Some districts have struggled to comply with the measure, with Dallas ISD filing for exemption, citing purported budgetary concerns and hiring pool limitations.
The district has nonetheless found room in its $2.5 billion budget to launch its new “School Safety, Monitoring, and Resources Department.” It will see to managing security measures including surveillance cameras, metal detectors, keycard access systems, intercom communication, shatterproof window films, and visitor identification systems, as covered in The Dallas Express.