Parents were seen trying to pick up their students just hours into the school day at Katy ISD’s Paetow High School, after what the district described as a concerning text message.
Helicopters were over the high school just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, where people were gathered outside of the building.
Investigators reached out to the district, who responded with the two letters that were sent to Paetow families.
While the first letter did not mention any incidents, the second letter below referenced a text going around that referred to a “school shooting.” The district confirmed to ABC13 there was no active shooter.
“Dear Paetow High School Parents/Guardians and Staff,
The purpose of this message is to notify you of a concerning text message that was recently circulated among some of our students referring to a “school shooting.”
The Katy ISD police and campus administration were notified of the message via an anonymous tip through the SpeakUp mobile application.
Katy ISD police and administration have investigated the matter and determined that the threat is unfounded. However, out of an abundance of caution, additional police officers have been assigned to patrol the areas surrounding the campus today.
Any student involved in this matter will face disciplinary consequences in accordance with the Katy ISD Discipline Management and Student Code of Conduct.
We would like to reassure parents that the safety of our students is a top priority. We encourage parents to help our students understand the serious implications that can result from inappropriate texting and social media posts.
Students, staff and community play an important role in keeping our school safe by reporting potential threats or safety issues.
As a reminder, in addition to reporting information to school or law enforcement officials, students and parents can also utilize the Katy ISD mobile app, SpeakUP, to anonymously report tips.”
According to Katy ISD, the district’s police department said that it continues to investigate all tips and rumors related to the text and determined that the threats were unfounded.
Parents were able to pick up their children if they were concerned, “however, we want to assure the community that the safety and security of our students is our number one priority,” the district wrote.
The following is the other letter by Paetow’s principal.
“Dear PHS Parents/Guardians,
I realize that recent events have many of our parents, students, and staff concerned about safety issues on our campus. 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 additional police and security officers, and additional district level administrative staff and counselors that have been assigned to our campus to assist with needs. Many of these additional staff begin their assignments on our campus as early as 6:30 a.m. Also, Katy ISD police continue to investigate all tips and rumors concerning today’s school day and have determined that those they have received thus far to be unfounded.
As I shared yesterday evening, the following steps have been put in place as we continue to prioritize the safety and security of our students:
- 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
Parents and guardians are encouraged to take this opportunity to discuss these matters with your student to make sure they understand the seriousness of false threats and inappropriate behaviors.
Our goal as a campus is to ensure that we are consistently fostering academic achievement and positive relationships between students, parents, and staff in safe and secure learning environments. Your assistance in helping your student understand the importance of supporting this goal and doing their part in contributing to a positive and prideful Paetow Panther culture, is greatly appreciated.
Finally, as a reminder, there are several ways students and parents can help school administration and law enforcement address potential safety issues, including reporting a concern to school administration or the police, or submitting information on the SpeakUp mobile app.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mindy Dickerson, Principal, Paetow High School”
Several schools have had to deal with alleged threats amid continued concern over safety.
On Tuesday, a 17-year-old high school student was arrested after threatening to open fire at Calvin Nelms Charter Schools, also in Katy.
Conroe, the Heights, Aldine, Klein Forest and Fort Bend are all among the schools or districts that faced threats over the course of the last two weeks.