techs3.jpg  CO LEAD PHOTO

Texas Early College High School moved to its new and expanded location in 2018.

Students and staff at Texas Early College High School located in Marshall were sent into lockdown for the remainder of the school day Tuesday after a gun threat was called into the school at 10:45 a.m.

Principal Bob Garcia said that the call came into the school’s front office, with the unknown person using an application that allowed them to mask their voice and their phone number to make the threat against the school building.

Garcia said that the school was immediately put into lockdown, with teachers locking down their classrooms and students who were en route to another location being brought to safety first.

Texas Early College High School is a guardian school, meaning a number of teachers and administrators on campus are armed throughout the school day.

Garcia said that guardians stood guard against the school’s main entrances while they awaited arrival from the Marshall Police Department, which Garcia said took only a few minutes after they were called.

Though no shooter every appeared to arrive on campus, the school building was held in lockdown with police and FBI officers present through the end of the day at noon. Students were then released to their own vehicles or to their parents, who were informed on the incident.

Community members received an alert from the school immediately through their system, and parents were kept informed as well through the school’s Facebook page as well as informed in line after the school day was completed.

“Our parents trusted us to do what needed to be done, and we had no issues, no parents came up to the school demanding to take their child during the lockdown,” Garcia said.

He said that while there ended up being no substantial threat made to either students or staff at the school, he was impressed by the response both students and teachers had to the situation.

“I was very proud of our students, they were great,” Garcia said, “They listened well, they remained quiet, they did everything we need them to do.”

He added that through the experience the school has begun to add and revamp a number of safety measures to ensure continued and additional safety for students in case a similar incident were to occur again.

These steps include the addition of technology that allows staff to record incoming phone calls, as well as the previously planned tinting of all interior windows and even the addition of established safety passwords.

“We defiantly learned from it,” Garcia said, “You can plan and have drills as often as you like, but it’s never the same as when the real thing happens and we want to be sure we are ready for anything.”

Additionally, Garcia said he was very grateful for the response given to the school by Marshall police, specially Chief Cliff Carruth, who was not only present on scene during the incident but returned the following day to debrief with Garcia and staff.

“The response from the local police has been excellent, they are even going to up patrols around this area and come by the school more often,” Garcia said.


City Reporter

Jessica Harker has been the city reporter with the Marshall News Messenger since 2019.