On Sunday night, Leticia Miranda received an e-mail from the staff at Andy Dekaney High School, which has been beset with violence that includes all-out riots.
"It said they aren't allowing hoodies, backpacks...and if the kids aren't there by 8 a.m., the doors would be locked and every student that's late is going to a 'special place,'" says Miranda, whose 16-year-old son attends the Spring ISD school in northwest Harris County.
True to the administrators' words, the classroom doors were locked on Monday at 8:01 a.m. The tardy ones were then sent to the "special place," a.k.a. the school gymnasium, to spend the remainder of the school day. All 200 of them.
By mid-morning, 30 students who were late to their second- and third-period classes joined the previous 200. Bored with nothing to do, Miranda says, the kids started a small fire in the gym.
This is just the latest episode in a school that parents like Miranda say needs to shut down. "My son tells me that there are fights every day and that he sometimes has to run to class to avoid danger," she says. (A phone message left with Spring ISD hadn't been returned as of the time this post was published.)
Miranda says that Sunday's e-mail was prompted by a brawl (partially captured in the above video) that occurred inside the school cafeteria on January 27. Spring ISD officials said that the fight broke out between four students, but "the school is lying," says Miranda. "My son said there was way more than that. One kid had blood coming down his cheek from the eardrum to the neck."
Miranda explains that so far during this school year, someone broke into her son's locker and swiped his brand-new cell phone. Another time, her son was coming home from school when some of his classmates beat him up and stole the shoes right off of his feet.
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Mom wants her son to get the heck out of Dekaney, but says that the school isn't allowing any of the approximately 2,400 students to transfer.
"There's no disciplinarian in that school and the staff isn't doing anything about it. The teachers aren't enforcing the rules. I believe that they're either scared or they're acting like they don't care."