SPRING — Students returned to classes Monday at a suburban Houston high school amid tightened security following a knife fight that left one student dead and three injured.
Students lined up for security screening before entering Spring High School, where portable metal detectors and hand-held wand security devices would be used all week, school spokeswoman Karen Garrison said. The security equipment — installed following the fight Wednesday that left 17-year-old Joshua Devon Broussard dead — has been used sporadically at the school in the past.
Uniformed law enforcement officers and patrol vehicles surrounded the facility about 20 miles north of Houston, which had been closed since Broussard’s death.
Harris County sheriff’s
deputies arrested another 17-year-old student, Luis Alonzo Alfaro, in the attack. Alfaro was being held Monday in the Harris County Jail on a murder charge, with bond set at $140,000.
Sheriff’s investigators blame gang rivalry for the fight.
“School got off to a great start this morning; it went very smoothly,” Garrison said. “It’s really important that we get our kids back to school and we start having normal school days for our children.”
Some students released balloons Monday to remember the victim, and several prayer groups gathered. Principal Donna Ullrich said parents and school officials would meet this week to discuss school safety and security.
Meanwhile, the school is having its students wear clear backpacks or carry materials in clear zip-lock bags to prevent concealed weapons from reaching campus. “We are part of the Spring community, and we need your help to make our school the safest and best school possible,” Ullrich said in a letter Sunday to parents.
Garrison said attendance at the high school, where more than 3,000 students are enrolled, was at about 60 percent on Monday.
Also Monday, hundreds of mourners attended a funeral service at Spring Baptist Church for Broussard. “He loved horses and he loved people,” Edward Shepherd, Broussard’s uncle, told the Houston Chronicle. “I’ve never seen Joshua mad, and he would never argue.”
Broussard’s friend Alex Woods was still trying to come to grips with the loss.
“It’s unreal,” said Woods, 16, a sophomore at Spring High School.
A memorial service for Broussard was disrupted Sunday night when shots were fired outside Spring Baptist Church. No injuries were reported and nobody was arrested, said Christina Garza, a sheriff’s department spokeswoman.
The district serves more than 36,500 students at 38 campuses, according to the Spring ISD website. Security was increased Monday at Spring ISD’s two other high schools, as a precaution, said district police Chief Victor Mitchell.