Survivors, parents talk about Santa Fe school shooting at roundtable discussion

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

AUSTIN, Texas - There was applause Thursday in Austin for the Santa Fe Independent School District police officer who Scot Rice said saved the life of his wife, Flo, a substitute teacher at Santa Fe High School.  

Rice told the state's top leaders during Gov. Greg Abbott's roundtable discussion on safety and security how his wife repeatedly called him last Friday morning, told him that she had been shot, crawled out of the school and laid on the ground as gunfire continued.  

Rice said he wanted to approach, but was turned back.  

"I held up my phone and was yelling, 'My wife's alive!'" Rice said. "Officers had been stepping over her and she was presumed dead. She was playing dead. Flo was shot from behind by a coward."  

He said the officer scooped her up and rushed her to the car. Rice said his wife is at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and is expected to recover.

Abbott hosted his third and final roundtable discussion about safety and security at Texas schools Thursday at the state Capitol in Austin. Those affected in the shootings at Sutherland Springs, Alpine and the 1991 shooting at the Killeen Luby's took part in the discussion. It was, at times, direct. At other times, it was emotional.  

Lt.Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Joe Straus, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, as well as U.S. Rep. Randy Weber were among the public officials taking part in the roundtable.

"When I walked out into the hallway I see a kid get shot. And he falls," Santa Fe High School student Grace Johnson said.

She said she ran back into the band hall and hid in a concrete attic in order to survive. She and others said more needs to be done. 

The ideas ranged from panic alarms in schools to armed teachers to more counselors to metal detectors. Johnson described the officer in her school as her "watch dog."

"We need more of them. I see two, maybe three. And I only see them at lunch. The security at our schools needs to increase," Johnson said.

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