Houston ISD addresses teacher shortage, safety concerns as students head back into the classroom

As students prepare to head back to the classroom there's a teacher shortage and safety concerns looming over the Houston Independent School District. 


At one point during summer break, HISD had more than 800 teacher openings, during a press briefing Wednesday, the district says they'll be starting the school year with 95 percent of those positions filled. 

 "Over 10,000 teachers are ready and will be ready to go," said Superintendent Millard House. 

House assured parents they've got the staff in place to make sure every student receives a quality education. They've even opened the playing field to international candidates to help in areas facing a critical shortage. During the briefing, district officials addressed other key concerns when it comes to students heading back into the classroom. 

With COVID-19 still being transmitted in our communities, and monkeypox cases on the rise, the district ensures parents that the health of their children is a priority. 

"We are continuously working with our local health agencies including the Houston health department to train our nurses and ensure we have best practices in place," said  Candice Castillo, head of HISD student support services.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: HISD still needs to fill 800 teacher vacancies before school starts in less than three weeks

Finally, they addressed the danger of school shootings. 

"We would be as prepared as one could be," said Superintendent House. 

In light of the Uvalde elementary school massacre, officials say safety procedures have been put into place to better protect HISD school buildings. 

The HISD chief of police says in the case of an active shooter situation, the confusion we saw in Uvalde among responding law enforcement won't happen on his watch. 

"Let's be very clear, HISD Police Department will be the first responder in any active shooter situation," he said. 

HISD police say they've asked the school board to approve new equipment that would help them better in the case of an active shooter.