Lamar HS parents demand better security: 'Worried about them surviving high school'

By Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Editor, Cathy Hernandez - Reporter, Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Several parents of Lamar High School students organized a stand-in Thursday morning after a student, 18-year-old Delindsey Mack, was gunned down Tuesday while walking near the campus.

The school has lost three students due to gun violence in a matter of days, and now parents are demanding answers.

Parents of students at the school have growing concerns that security measures taken to keep their kids safe are not enough, despite the visibly heightened security at the school in the days since the shooting.

“I used to keep saying, ‘I just want to get my kids to the altar,’” said one parent. “Now I just want to get my kids out of high school. I’m just worried about them surviving high school.”

The school was put on lockdown at the time of the shooting, but some parents say even that wasn’t handled adequately.

“Just the other day, when she said she couldn’t lock the door to the classroom she was in, someone could have easily walked into that classroom and opened fire,” another parent said.

Parents organized Thursday’s stand-in because they said they want to see a review of the security measures and an increase in officers, and they are asking state leaders to help.

“We are calling for additional funding because HISD cannot provide the necessary funding (for) our schools and the security of our children,” said parent Caroline Jones. “It’s very worrisome.”

The Houston Independent School District had not yet responded to the parents’ concerns.

The gunman in Thursday’s shooting is still at large.

Houston police are still hoping someone will call in with the tip that will lead them to Mack’s killer.

“We're interviewing people both at the school and friends that may have some involvement,” said Assistant Police Chief W.R. Dobbins.

At first, police thought they had a good description of a car used in the drive-by shooting, but that description turned out to be incorrect. After initially saying they were searching for, and found, a Subaru, investigators now say the person or people responsible for the shooting left the scene in a small, dark gray, four-door car, possibly a Nissan Sentra or Versa with paper license plates and plastic covering the rear passenger side window.

“We still want to make sure we get the right car. You know the worst thing you can do is have people looking for the wrong car,” Dobbins said.

Sources involved in the investigation said police also continue to explore possible gang ties and the possibility that trouble followed Mack when he transferred from Yates High School to Lamar. There was no answer at a home listed for Mack's parents and phone messages were not returned.

HISD issued the following statement on security at Lamar High School:

"Due to recent tragic events, HISD has increased police presence on the Lamar High School campus. District administrators are working with concerned parents to come up with effective solutions in the short and long term. Our goal is to ensure that students are safe and receive counseling support as needed during this challenging time. It is also our goal to ensure that teaching and learning continue. Please know we take these situations very seriously as the safety of our students is always our top priority."

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