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Several Families of Santa Fe Victims Demand New Leadership on School Board

Several speakers protested how the district handled the most recent security scare, when two students were disciplined for allegedly threatening text messages.

Parent Kenzie Conway blasted the Santa Fe School Board for how the district handled a recent security scare.
Parent Kenzie Conway blasted the Santa Fe School Board for how the district handled a recent security scare.

Families of victims from the Santa Fe High School shooting are demanding new leadership in their school district, saying they’re not doing enough on academics or safety.

At the monthly school board meeting Monday night, the families rang a bell for loved ones killed in the shooting in May. Ten times the bell rang.

Then they recognized the 13 people who were injured — something Scot Rice said that the Santa Fe school board has failed to do.

The list includes Rice’s wife, Flo Rice. She was a substitute teacher and has to use a walker because of her injuries.

They and about half a dozen other families called for the three Santa Fe school board members running for reelection this fall to step down. Some called for the superintendent, Leigh Wall, to resign.

“This district is a failure. Academically, they’re a failure, safety’s a failure and our board’s a failure and we want them gone,” Scot Rice said, wearing a white T-shirt blazoned with a giant “F.”

In terms of academics, he and others pointed to the recent state accountability ratings. Because of a waiver for Harvey, Santa Fe schools didn’t get an official rating from the Texas Education Agency. But if they had been graded on the new A-F reports cards like most other Texas school districts, Santa Fe would have earned a “D” on student progress and “F” on closing performance gaps.

Several speakers protested how the district handled the most recent security scare, when two students were disciplined for allegedly threatening text messages.

“We feel that the offense is very serious and that we need to pay attention to kids when they are crying for help, this may be a cry for help,” said Sonia Lopez, whose daughter Sarah Salazar was among the injured. “This may be another shooter thinking about doing something like this in the future.”

Several trustees, like Eric Davenport, said they appreciated the comments and promised to take responsibility.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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