Jefferson HS parents call for campus policy change after chaotic lockdown response


SAN ANTONIO – Fear, anxiety and panic at Jefferson High School followed a campus lockdown over a threat deemed unreliable.

Just a day later, parents are already demanding policy changes.

San Antonio ISD officials said Wednesday the protocols were running properly, but communication with parents can and will be improved.

“I’m supposed to be happy at school, happy with my friends, and today wasn’t one of those days. Today my life could have been at stake,” said 17-year-old college student Marty Gonzales.

Students at the school like Gonzales were relieved to hug their families but were still rocked by the lockdown.

Cellphone video shows officers sweeping classrooms — something both Gonzalez and another student, Christopher Corrales, call “a scary situation.”

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“It’s one of the things I have to try to move on from and it’s also going to be one of the things I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Corrales said.

“They just told us to put our hands up, but a gun pointed at you is not right,” Gonzales said.

Students and parents said a phone policy requires students to turn in their phones at the start of each class. Students said they needed access to their phones to communicate with loved ones.

Audrey Cardenas, a mother of a SAISD student, said the inability to get answers or speak to her son only added to the fear and anxiety.

“I couldn’t get hold of him and if it was an active shooter, what if he was one who got shot and I didn’t know? It is not okay. It’s not okay to take their phones away from them, especially after what happened at Robb Elementary. It’s not okay,” Cardenas said.

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SAISD Superintendent Jaime Aquino said these guidelines apply from campus to campus, adding that the decision will be made by school staff and parents.

“They wanted to make sure they, the students, didn’t have phones interrupting class, but we don’t have a policy and any campus can check that,” Aquino said.

County Police Chief Johnny Reyes Jr. believes this should be an issue that should be revisited.

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“It’s an opportunity to communicate directly with what’s going on inside. It’s also the communication they have with their parents that says, “Mom, I’m fine. Dad, I’m fine,'” Reyes Jr. said.

Both the superintendent and district chief said the response and protocols were properly executed.

They added that they would like to improve communication with parents.

They plan to start sending text notifications, buying megaphones to better communicate with large crowds, and sending short videos that parents can use to better help them in the future.

“It will not be a Uvalde situation. We will respond and respond appropriately,” Aquino said.

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