By LYNETTE HAAALAND, Four Points News
Travis County Sheriff’s Office detained a man who was making verbal threats and making gestures toward students at Steiner Ranch Elementary around dismissal time in the early afternoon on Oct. 1.
SRE Principal Angela Hodges and Leander ISD sent out an email to parents stating: “… a man in front of the school began making verbal threats and inappropriate gestures toward students, including ‘shooting’ hand signs.”
Police were called immediately. LISD initially stated that the man was arrested but Travis County Sheriff’s Office confirmed he was detained.
“We did not make an arrest,” said Kristen Dark, TCSO spokesperson. “We received a 911 call regarding an individual at the school who was making verbal threats and gestures. We detained an individual.”
Dark said the student population was not in danger.
“If at any point we determined that there was a chance that the school population was in danger, we would act on that immediately for their protection,” Dark said.
SRE’s Hodges let families know: “If there were a threat, the deputies would immediately take action to protect our students, teachers, staff and visitors.”
The LISD email also stated that they believe this was the same man who caused a disturbance in front of SRE in February.
In that case, the email stated, “SRE called the police when this man was walking up and down Quinlan Park Road with a blanket over his head and talking to himself.”
Hodges reassured parents that “law enforcement is aware of the individual and his history of behavior, and the county agencies continue to engage him regarding his actions.”
Many parents called SRE with concerns about the security of the campus.
Several additional steps are being taken to heighten security at the campus.
A criminal trespass warrant has been issued for the man and if he tries to return to campus, he will be arrested, the LISD email states.
The LISD director of security, a licensed law officer, was stationed at SRE as the school worked through the situation this week.
LISD has security protocols in place for situations like this including keeping all exterior doors locked and closed.
“We continually train our teachers and staff on these security protocols, so we are prepared in an emergency,” Hodges stated.
Some parents asked Hodges about locking exterior fences but she stated “this is not an option due to their needing to remain unlocked for use as an evacuation route.”
Also, in the event of an emergency, communications systems are in place to text or call to immediately alert students and parents that may be nearby.
A total of three SRE emails were sent to parents as the incident unfolded Tuesday and Wednesday. LISD also shared an update with families of all other LISD schools in Steiner: Laura W. Bush and River Ridge elementaries and Canyon Ridge Middle School.
Hodges commended the SRE staff for quickly responding to the situation on Tuesday.
“Please know that your children are in the safest of hands and that we will always make their security our top priority,” Hodges stated.
On Oct. 3 just before 6 p.m., LISD shared another email to parents of SRE students because the man was spotted again on Thursday.
|Dear Steiner Ranch Elementary School families,|
I am writing to update you on a situation involving the man
who Travis County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) detained Oct. 1 for making
verbal threats and inappropriate gestures.
Parents spotted the man across the street from our school during
We had TCSO officers on site during the encounter. The man eventually
left the area on foot.
Because he did not enter our campus property, we were not able to issue a criminal trespass.
We submitted a contract request to TCSO late this afternoon to pay for
an off-duty officer to work at our school.
We don’t anticipate hearing from TCSO until tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 4).
The LISD director of security, a licensed law enforcement officer,
will continue to work in the school.
As a review, this man’s actions during dismissal Tuesday prompted a call to police, who detained him.
In February, we called the police when this man was walking up and
down Quinlan Park Road with a blanket over his head and talking to
Law enforcement is aware of the individual and his history of behavior,
and county agencies continue to engage him regarding his actions.
TCSO assured us that our students are safe. If there were a threat,
the deputies would immediately take action to protect our students,
teachers, staff and visitors.If you have concerns regarding any
suspicious person outside of our campus, please direct those calls
Please know we have team members in place to support our
students who may have a heightened level of anxiety. If you notice
any concerns with your child, please reach out to our campus team.
Thank you for your partnership in making sure our students have a
safe, welcoming place to learn.