News Roundup: Santa Fe School District Announces New Safety Initiatives

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJune 11, 2018 9:02 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The Santa Fe Independent School District has announced a plan to improve school safety.

The changes come in the wake of the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School, where a 17-year-old killed 10 people and wounded 13 others.

KUT’s Nathan Bernier reports:

The Santa Fe School District outside Houston says its adding officers to all four of its campuses, in addition to security guards to help monitor hallways, entryways, and exits. The school district says its hiring additional high school counselors, so they can have more time to devote to students’ mental health needs. School officials say they’re also providing extra security training to all employees to identify potential threats. And they’re not done yet – the Santa Fe school district has formed a committee of parents, teachers, law enforcement officials, and others to consider more ideas including metal detectors, clear backpacks, and social media monitoring. Meanwhile, the family of another victim has joined a lawsuit against the parents of a teen who is accused of using his father’s guns to commit the massacre.

The Senate race between Sen. Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke got personal this week when the incumbent attacked the challenger over a tax fraud case involving his mother.

An El Paso furniture store owned by Melissa O’Rourke was accused of accepting cash payments in order to avoid reporting to the IRS. The store pleaded guilty in 2010. The El Paso Times reports the store was fined $500,000 and ultimately agreed to pay $250,000. Cruz reiterated his criticism of U.S. Rep. O’Rourke’s family Thursday during an interview with KERA News.

“He talked about the importance of collecting sales taxes and there was more than a little irony and even hypocrisy in that his family furniture store was convicted of a criminal offense of tax fraud – of defrauding sales taxes,” Cruz said

The furniture store was charged as a corporate entity. In a separate interview with KERA News, O’Rourke said he has nothing to hide – and that voters are interested in more pressing matters, like education and immigration.

“She was not found personally liable,” O’Rourke said. “It was not alleged that she personally had any involvement in the mistake that that store made, but that was a serious mistake and it’s fine for Senator Cruz to bring that up.”

Melissa O’Rourke closed the store in 2017, months after her son launched his Senate campaign.

An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated that the store was closed ahead of the launch of U.S. Rep. O’Rourke’s Senate bid.

Texas has opened the country’s first state-run gold depository.

State lawmakers approved the project in 2015, on the condition that Texas hire an outside company to manage the depository and cover costs.  The fully-insured Austin facility will store more than gold.

Chris Bryan is a spokesperson for the Texas Comptroller’s Office, which oversees the Texas Bullion Depository.

“So a lot of folks are thinking about this as a gold bullion depository,” Bryan says “but the fact of the matter is we do accept gold, silver, platinum, rhodium, palladium – really any of those sort of common precious metals that folks may have in physical form, we will store securely, and safely and fully insured.”

All metals sent to the depository will undergo three types of non-destructive testing to ensure purity.