HOUSTON - Houston ISD officials voted for providing $2.3 million dollars in additional weapons and equipment for their school officers.
Superintendent Millard House says this will better equip those officers to respond to a possible active shooter situation.
It’s a move House said was already in the works prior to the Uvalde shooting, but was met with urgency after the tragedy.
The board deliberated for nearly an hour before addressing the agenda item. Trustee Dani Hernandez made a motion to postpone the vote until the next meeting, but that motion failed. The board approved late Thursday night with a vote of 6 to 3.
Opposers of the move who spoke during public comment Thursday night say there should be more of an emphasis on filling teacher and counselor gaps in the district with the funds.
"The time is to invest in those community-based alternatives to policing that make students feel connected," says Travis Fife of the Texas Civil Rights Project. "Students are safest when they feel connected and have a genuine interest in the classrooms."
Many parents and teachers also gave their take on the issue. Local teacher Jessica Flores agreed with Fife.
"We have procedures and systems at work, but how are they measured against one another?" says Flores.
"We need school safety to be centralized before we consider adding rifles, how do we address the problem?"
Recently, Millard House said that HISD’s police were not prepared in the event of a school shooting crisis, and adding 200 rifles, ballistic plates, shields, and ammunition would better qualify their officers.
Police Chief Pete Lopez said after reviewing what happened in Uvalde, additional equipment would give him more confidence in his officers to respond properly.
He also says the new equipment purchase will happen immediately.