KATY, Texas — Dozens of parents lined up outside Paetow High School in Katy Wednesday morning to pick up their kids after rumors of threats against the school.
In a letter to parents, Katy ISD addressed a text message circulating among students that referred to a "school shooting."
"Katy ISD police continue to investigate all tips and rumors concerning today’s school day and have determined the threats to be unfounded," the letter said.
But one mom said she wasn't taking any chances when it comes to her son's safety.
"My son texted me several times and he was concerned, afraid," Nakita Johnson said. "We've seen the results of what could happen across the state-- in Texas and beyond..."
The parents said they're also concerned about recent fights at the school, including some that were caught on camera. They said there have been at least 10 fights recently and a security guard was assaulted.
Video sent to us by a concerned mom shows a chaotic scene as security guards fought with students. Dozens of students gathered to watch the guards trying to subdue the students.
One of them broke away and tried to run off, but the guard tackled him and tried to hold him down until a male student or staff member stepped in to help.
"Like every day this week they've been coming home, showing me Snapchat videos of different incidents," Allah-Mi Basher said.
In a statement, Katy ISD confirmed that a "physical altercation occurred between groups of students in the commons area of the campus."
"At least one student was physically detained by Katy ISD police for their active involvement in the incident," the district said. "I would like to reassure parents that the safety of our students at Paetow High School is our top priority, and behaviors such as these are not tolerated on our campus."
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These latest events come less than two weeks after three teens were shot during what was billed as a Paetow homecoming house party.
But some say preventing future issues also starts at home.
"At the end of the day, the kids make choices," Johnson said. "Sometimes they make poor choices, and they think it's all fun and games, but it's not all fun and games."
Paetow Principal Mindy Dickerson also sent a letter to parents assuring them that security has been increased there.
"I realize that recent events have many of our parents, students, and staff concerned about safety issues on our campus," the letter said. "I want you to know that our campus and District take such matters very seriously and has been providing our school with additional support, including more than 10 additional police and security officers..."
Dickerson said the following steps have been taken to beef up security at the school.
- Increased Security Guards
- Increased Police presence
- Additional Administrative Staff
- Robust and enhanced duty stations for staff
- Reminders for students to report issues before they occur
- Reminders for students as to how they should behave if an event should occur
- Procedures for protecting instruction and less movement in the hallways
- Systematic dismissal to ensure a smooth exit
- Additional disciplinary options for offenders
Read the full letter from Paetow's principal:
"The purpose of this message is to inform you that this afternoon a physical altercation occurred between a group of students in the commons area of the campus. The incident was witnessed by several students and was contained by school and campus security. At least one student was physically detained by Katy ISD police for their active involvement in the incident. Any other students found to have been involved will face disciplinary consequences in accordance with the Katy ISD Discipline Management Plan and Student Code of Conduct. Also, out of an abundance of caution, additional Katy ISD police personnel have been assigned to our campus for the remainder of the day.
I would like to reassure parents that the safety of our students at Paetow High School is our top priority, and behaviors such as these are not tolerated on our campus.
There are several ways students and parents can help the school administration resolve conflicts before an incident occurs. In addition to reporting information to someone at school or a law enforcement official, parents can utilize our Katy ISD SpeakUp mobile app to anonymously report tips. I also encourage parents to help their child understand the serious implications that can result from engaging in or encouraging physical or verbal conflict. With your help, we can effectively continue our commitment to maintaining a safe and secure learning environment for all students.
Thank you for your continued support."