By Max Roemer
On October 7, 2021, a student was shot on ECISD campus while in Buccaneer Stadium watching a junior varsity game between East Chambers and Anahuac. In a campus wide email to parents and guardians, dated October 8, 2021, Christy Ridgaway, on behalf of ECISD administration, stated, “…a student, without realizing it at the time, was injured in the leg from a .22 caliber bullet. There were no shots heard from inside or nearby the stadium.”
The day before, on October 6, 2021, ECISD Assistant Superintendent Anrea Smith sent a campus wide email to parents and guardians stating that, “…another student made some disturbing and threating comments at school…the student in question has been removed from the campus and will not return…” Less than 24 hours after Mrs. Smith sent this email regarding the threatening student, a student was shot on campus in broad daylight while enjoying the football game.
What has East Chambers ISD done since this shooting? In short, sent a couple of emails. On January 4, 2022, Superintendent Scott Campbell provided the following comment regarding the shooting to The Seabreeze Beacon newspaper, “There was no gunshot inside the stadium. We investigated and assisted law enforcement with their investigation of what might have occurred near the stadium that evening but no conclusions have been drawn. The sheriff’s office confirms that it is an open investigation as to where the shot from somewhere off campus that evening originated. From the beginning, we requested that anyone with any information regarding a shot being fired within one mile of the stadium to contact the sheriff’s department. That request is still ongoing. There is no other way to put it. There was no shot fired inside the stadium that night. Exactly what happened is still being investigated by the sheriff’s office.” Campbell also stated, “We are always reviewing, practicing, evaluating, and revising our safety protocols on a regular basis regardless of actual or perceived threats. That’s the way security works. We have and will continue to review and update security measures regardless of events that may or may not occur.”
On Monday, January 10, 2022, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne provided the following statement regarding the school shooting: “The investigation is still open and ongoing. We feel that we have done everything that could be done in gathering evidence regarding trajectory, etc. There is no evidence that indicates the victim was an intended target. This appears to be a reckless discharge of a weapon. There is a reward to persons who can provide information that will lead to an arrest. If you have information, please call Crime Stoppers of Chambers County at 409-267-4019.”
A student was shot on ECISD campus. Numerous persons have contacted The Seabreeze Beacon about their frustration that neither ECISD nor the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, in their opinion, have not been more proactive in keeping the community informed of the ongoing investigation. A townhall has never been held where parents/guardians can openly ask questions of both ECISD and the Sheriff’s office. Transparency is vital to ensure trust among the community.