Santa Fe ISD board votes against plan to build memorial on school grounds to honor victims

Here's what we know

SANTA FE – The massacre that happened on the Santa Fe High School campus back in 2018 is still painful for many people in the community to think about.

The future location of a memorial honoring the 10 lives lost seems to be stirring up emotions.

While some say it should be erected on campus, Santa Fe ISD officials say they respect the idea but it’s just not feasible.

The “unfillable” chair on the lawn outside of Santa Fe High School and a new commemorative statue of the Indians mascot set to adorn the campus next year, represent the deadly shooting that happened there on May 18, 2018, but loved ones of the 10 who were killed like, Shannan Claussen, who is the mother of Christian Riley Garcia, say they were expecting a permanent memorial to also be erected on the campus.

At a school board meeting Monday they learned otherwise.

“We’ve had workshops with the school board and discussed questions and addressed all their concerns and thought we had come to a resolution in front of the school,” Claussen said.

Reagan Gaona who lost her boyfriend, Chris Stone, in the shooting shares those sentiments.

“I was really just like sad, irritated and shocked,” Gaona said.

Santa Fe ISD Board Trustee Vice President Eric E Davenport said the board is in full support of building a memorial, but there are reasons such as high land costs, land laws and school safety as to why putting a public memorial on campus isn’t feasible.

“We’re trying to partner with the city so that we can still help the Santa Fe 10 Memorial Foundation move forward with constructing a beautiful piece,” Davenport said.

School officials say the tentative design would require approximately an acre of land. A park located near the school district’s administration building just under three miles, or about five minutes drive from the high school, is a location the school district is considering since it already owns the land.

“People can go and be in private tranquility and it’s safe off the beaten path of a major highway,” Davenport said.

Fundraising for the memorial, which could cost more than one and a half million dollars, isn’t complete yet, which is why a tentative date for it to be built isn’t available. Once a date and location are finalized, an update will be provided.

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