Naked City

Is Reagan High Really Safer?

On Sept. 25, AISD Superintendent Pat Forgione told members of the district's Community Safety Task Force that in the wake of the March on-campus murder of 15-year-old Reagan High student Ortralla Mosley, Reagan administrators snapped to, implementing improved security measures on the Northeast Austin campus. The school got a $1 million grant from the Texas Education Agency, Forgione said, which Reagan Principal Nolan Correa used to add nine new administrative positions -- including a new campus security guard -- and six new teaching positions. And, Forgione reiterated numerous times, those personnel choices were made by the "Reagan team," not by AISD central administration.

Forgione's insistence that those choices were Reagan's and only Reagan's came on the heels of reports that a Reagan freshman was raped on campus in mid-September, despite the supposedly beefed-up campus security measures. Last week, the Austin American-Statesman reported that in August, Correa put in a request for additional hall monitors and an additional school resource officer with Area Superintendent Rosalinda Hernandez, but that the request had not been fulfilled. Although Forgione would not comment directly on the recent sexual assault, he said he "never received any memo at my level that said we [Reagan] want more." He did receive a request after the assault, he said, which he has already approved. "Obviously we've had another serious incident that is being investigated, but that was not because they didn't get ready for this year," he said. The Reagan team has "done yeoman's work getting ready for the school year. But obviously, that was not good enough."

Forgione's comments didn't seem to go over too well with some on the safety task force, which was convened in the wake of Mosley's murder and charged with reviewing the district's existing safety policies and helping develop both individual campus safety plans and a comprehensive district-wide safety plan. Task force member and AISD parent Ramon de Jesus said that although Reagan added nine new administrators, "not one has a parent responsibility" -- that is, a role interacting with Reagan parents -- "attached to their job descriptions. That's unacceptable."

The Rev. Sterling Lands, a task force co-chair, said, "I'm not sure that, after we're finished with this whole task force, that we really would have addressed the problem, because I'm not sure we've taken the time to find out what the problem really is." Lands wants the task force to get out to neighborhoods and on individual campuses, "in the belly of the whale," to talk with parents, kids, and teachers. "Administrators are necessary," he said, "but they're not the ones that are crying."

The task force will meet again on Oct. 20, when Forgione plans to present the group with specific safety plans for Reagan that were recommended by the four lawyers appointed by AISD to its Reagan Safety Review Team.

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