TISD increases security over school shooting, Mayan calendar
BY EMILY GUEVARA
AND FAITH HARPER
Campus security in Tyler ISD will be greater today after a decision made in light of last week's school shooting and discussions about the Mayan calendar, district officials said.
District spokeswoman Dawn Parnell said TISD hired 25 off-duty officers to report to campuses and ensure that all students and staff feel safe.
These officers, who will come from the Smith County Sherriff's Office, will be in addition to the TISD's 13 police officers and were hired only for today.
"We just feel it was in the best interest of our students that their safety was taken care of," Ms. Parnell said.
Gary Mooring, TISD's lone finalist for the superintendent position, said district officials had been discussing the issue for several days.
He said rumors are going around the state about possible incidents, and although TISD has substantiated nothing locally, they wanted to be proactive.
TISD's decision comes after Whitehouse ISD's Wednesday announcement that it would increase security today for the same reasons.
Whitehouse Police Chief Craig Shelton said Wednesday the department thought it would be a good time for parents to see police presence and let them know that their children are a top priority.
However, officials with Whitehouse ISD clarified that today's early release had been planned for a year, and there had been no threats of violence against the school or its students.
Doomsday scenarios based on the Mayan calendar have circulated on the Internet leading up to today, according to an Associated Press article. Today is when a more than 5,000-year period of the Mayan calendar ends, according to the AP.