HOUSTON — An overwhelming number of parents in the Greater Houston area who were surveyed with KHOU 11 News, listed safety as their No. 1 concern as kids head back to school.
“I would encourage parent groups to come together after they identify all of their school’s needs,” Humble mom Natalie Carter said.
In response, KHOU 11 investigated providing options to consider keeping schools secure by speaking with parents who offered their own safety suggestions.
“I have two little ones coming up through the school system as well and these things happen so quickly,” George Tunis, CEO of Hardwire LLC, said.
Both parents were concerned about Uvalde having a repeat in other schools.
“This latest shooting in Uvalde was sort of the last straw for me as a parent,” Tunis said.
That’s why Tunis, a father of four, supplied 258 schools on the eastern shore of Maryland with his assault rifle bulletproof armor shields.
“This shield would be hanged up on the wall, grabbed and turned on a shooter. If you look at that top grouping, it is a full clip from an AR,” Tunis said when showing off the shield.
Tunis compared having the shield available to having a fire extinguisher, saying the right tools and training are needed for these situations.
“The shields need to be in the building. People need to understand that they are just like a fire extinguisher,” he said.
However, Carter has a different take on school safety.
“For me as a parent, it would make me feel better that we take individual school assessments and assess their safety, which will, in turn, help the officers, resource officers anybody that will respond,” she said.
Carter said while she applauds companies like Hardwire LLC, that not only offer bulletproof shields, but backpack inserts and clipboards, she finds it a bit overwhelming.
“I want to still normalize my child’s school experience by not putting ballistics in their backpacks or ballistic shields,” she said.
However, Tunis would like to expand his reach to Texas schools, citing that the shield can be used to prevent a potential threat.
“Bad guys don’t attack hardened targets,” he said. “Armor can be as much as a deterrent.”
Carter said she wants to see programs that secure school buildings.
“We don’t have to be on the sidelines afraid waiting for something to happen when we have the strength within us to make some change,” she said.
The Humble mom said it starts with more community involvement and pressure on elected leaders to step up.
“With our surplus in our government, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if Governor Abbott considered giving schools more funding. I really would want to encourage everybody to consider the value of their vote,” she said.
Two parents with different views on keeping our schools safe. Both want to keep our schools free from another Uvalde tragedy.