KILLEEN, Texas — Due to recent violence in Killeen ISD schools, its police force will be move district officers to high schools.
Killeen ISD Police Chief Ralph Disher told 6 News Wednesday Killeen ISD has seen 16 assaults at district campuses since the beginning of the year. Statistically, Disher said, the number is not much higher than normal.
At the same time, he said, this year definitely feels different.
"I don't know if we're seeing more fights than we have in the past but there is a different dynamic than what we have had in the past," Disher said. "You've got to realize in the last 18 months, kids were either not at school or were virtual. They are used to having that structure."
KISD incidents have easily made headlines in the last month. Ellison High School went on lockdown on Aug. 27 and had a fire, a false claim of a gun on campus and a fight all on the same day.
On Sept. 15, a 16-year-old reportedly stabbed another student at Shoemaker High School.
Fights have broken out at all four Killeen ISD high school campuses. One student even brought a gun to a middle school, school officials say.
"Some of the things we've had happen, a kid with a gun or a stabbing that we haven't had before, it brings a little bit more heightened awareness," Disher said.
Disher said 75 percent of the fights seem to be happening at high schools and the KISD Police Department will now have three officers stationed at each high school moving forward. They will also have more patrols at high schools later in the day.
"We'll take patrol officers and put them at those campuses," Disher said. "Our elementary schools finish at 3 p.m. High schools don't get out until 4:15 p.m. It still allows our officers to be there at the end of the day to support our high school campuses."
Killeen ISD has seen 16 assaults in the Fall of 2021. In 2019, the school district had 14 assaults during the same period.
Disher said officers are paying close attention to social media to try and stop fights before they start. They also investigate tips from parents.
"We get those occasionally when we get a threat someone will do something at campus," Disher said. "Those campus officers are aware so that they can monitor certain situations at the campus so we can monitor that kid that day."
The best way to increase safety at campuses, Disher said, was for parents to also keep an eye on social media, phone messages and other issues their kids are facing. Parents will be able to see things that officers won't .
"You don't have to be the 'helicopter parent' but you need to be aware of what they are doing on social media and who they are talking to. If there is a concern, we will help in any way possible," Disher said.