‘Unnecessary chaos' on social media results in San Marcos HS students staying home Monday

“Unnecessary chaos" is how San Marcos CISD Superintendent Michael Cardona referred to a social media narrative that swept through the community this week.

A parent posted on Facebook about keeping his son at home Monday because kids were planning on bringing guns to the high school.

“Yesterday we had approximately 1100 students miss school just at San Marcos High School,” said the district’s Executive Director of Communications Andrew Fernandez.  

Fernandez points out about 2300 students go to San Marcos High School.

In the Superintendent’s letter to parents across the district, Cardona says there was a fight in the cafeteria last week. Students were disciplined and parents were notified.

“On social media there was a different story going on, that there was a stabbing, there was guns on campus,” Fernandez said.

As for the alleged threat on Monday, Fernandez says San Marcos police didn’t find it credible, but had additional resources on campus just in case.

“We actually had additional police officers on campus in the morning to ensure the safety of the campus. We had 8 officers on campus,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez says he understands parents just want to be informed.

“We also want them to know that we’re not going to share information that’s not valid because then what...what are we doing?” Fernandez said.

San Marcos HS parent Leeann Hall says her son was recently the innocent party in a fight on campus and she believes he’s being treated unfairly.  

“It’s a lot of fighting going on at that school,” she said.  

She took the Monday threat seriously and kept her son at home and says she stands by that decision.

“I kept my son home from school yesterday because he’s been having some problems with his stomach and legs and could barely walk and I was like ‘if you can’t duck or dodge or even run there’s no need me sending you to school.’” Hall said.

Hall says she agrees with the district though that parents should get some sort of confirmation before posting about a threat.

In the Superintendent’s letter he told parents: “We teach students digital citizenship and counsel them when their online activity creates a school disruption. Adults in our community should hold themselves to that same standard of responsibility.”

“If you hear a threat about a campus, go to the campus itself. If the campus does not provide the answer or the resources, then come to the district. If the district can’t do it then we’re going to reach out to our partners in the San Marcos P.D. and get as much information as we can and then that information will be relayed to our parents,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez points out the hundreds of students that stayed home on Monday missed out on valuable instruction with testing just a couple of weeks away. He also confirmed the district took a roughly $33,000 hit with so many students not showing up, but that’s not the point.

“The money is not a factor in this situation. Did we lose money? Yes. But the safety of our students is number 1,” Fernandez said.

The school district says if there had been a credible threat, parents would have known. They had a credible threat earlier this year and Fernandez says parents were called, texted and reached through the district app.

The parent who made the initial Facebook post says he didn't do it to slam the school, he was legitimately concerned and was having a hard time getting ahold of school administrators on a Sunday.

The parent stands by his post and feels that threat was a very real concern.