Rouse High School Freshman Ava Mongoven addressed the Leander Independent School District Board about gun violence at last week’s meeting.
“Our school’s culture has been shifted from being one of learning and growth to being underlined with fear and intimidation of gun violence,” Mongoven said. “Growing up in a generation of school shootings is a complete nightmare.”
Mongoven said she does not know any student that feels safe in school.
“I am afraid to go to school, and I want to know what you are doing to make sure that doesn’t happen,” she said. “No amount of lock-down drills can prepare us for a real shooting.”
Mongoven asked if parents and staff are taught about warning signs, if the district is following up with expelled students or those with behaviorial issues, reminding parents to lock up their guns and excusing absences for students when there is a threat.
“Are we advocating for gun control?” Mongoven asked. “Are you personally voting for political leaders who will help solve this problem? Are you contacting local politicians and working with them? How important is a student living through the day to you?”
“While I know the board’s top priority is the safety of all students, that sentiment is not being met, as many students come to school with fear every day. We are tired of thoughts and prayers, because that is not something that I want to turn into some day.”
District Improvement Plan
The LISD school board briefly revisited the District Improvement Plan that was adopted at the Nov. 7 meeting, as two board members were absent from that meeting — LISD board members Grace Barber-Jordan and Jim Mackay.
LISD School Board President Trish Bode explained that the board had approved the District Improvement Plan with the seven goals, but had asked the administration to bring back redefined performance objectives for those goals.
Barber-Jordan said she is curious to see what LISD Superintendent Dr. Bruce Gearing will bring to the board for the performance objectives.
Mackay said the board hired the superintendent knowing that he was going to be an agent of change.
“Anything we do … to limit his [Gearing] ability to produce his vision in some ways shortchanges his ability to see that vision through,” Mackay said. “I’m glad that we finally landed on ‘Let’s let Bruce have a shot at it and see that vision through.’ Is there an accountability piece that’s on the back of that? Absolutely, but I think the board did good work in the decisions that were made, and I would have fully supported those decisions had I been here.”
Gearing said he appreciated the conversations they had been having and the way that they have been pushing each other to think differently.
“We’re continuing to work on the objectives and having great conversations about that,” Gearing said. “We’re also preparing for you a timeline of what the following year looks like because this is just really the start of building a foundation towards getting to a system that looks out over the long-term. We’re really building short-term solutions for this year, and then also building long-term solutions for the next five or 10 years.”