Classes resumed Tuesday morning at Timberview High School nearly one week after a fight led to a shooting inside the school.
The shooting on Oct. 6 injured four people total, including a 15-year-old student and 25-year-old teacher who were shot. Arlington police said the teacher, identified last week as 25-year-old English teacher Calvin Pettitt, ran into a classroom to attempt to break up a fight between Zacchaeus Selby, 15, and the alleged gunman Timothy Simpkins, 18.
Classes at Timberview High School were canceled Thursday, Oct. 6 in response to the shooting while Friday, Oct. 8 and Monday, Oct. 11 were previously reserved for parent/teacher conferences and staff development days for the entire Mansfield ISD.
Student Jason Crandon said overall, he felt comfortable coming back to school Tuesday.
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“It feels weird coming back, but I’m still glad that everyone is safe and that we all get to go back to a learning environment,” Crandon said. “Even though you might feel scared coming back, don’t worry. You’ll be fine. Although it may not be available right now, it will eventually get there.”
There were mixed feelings amongst parents who dropped off their students early Tuesday. Frank Adetosoyi is the father of a Timberview High School student and said he did not have any concerns sending his child back to school.
“It’s not a big deal. The students are ready to get back, and they’re doing fine,” Adetosoyi said. “They’re just ready to get back to normal life.”
Lashanna Ford told NBC 5, she was more nervous than her daughter.
“She’s probably okay. She has security here, but I’m more nervous for her,” Ford said. “She’ll be okay. They’re in good hands. There’s a lot of officers here, which makes me feel comfortable. She’s lined up for the welcome back. She’ll be okay. We got to pray for them.”
The return to classes Tuesday also included teachers and staff members from other schools in the district. Mary Bess is a kindergarten teacher at Imogene Gideon Elementary and the mother of two students at Timberview High School. Bess and other teachers volunteered to greet students as they entered the school.
“Everybody showed up there for support,” Bess said. “You just want to support anybody’s kids, not just my own. Just anybody in that school and also the teachers.”
In a message to families Monday, Mansfield ISD superintendent said the district will continue to offer counseling support and have partnered with a local agency to provide extra police presence on campuses.
“Additionally, Mansfield ISD is looking at things internally. Not just the events of Wednesday, but everything leading up,” Dr. Cantu said. “In order to ensure the integrity of that investigation for Mansfield ISD and the Arlington police department, we cannot share any details at this time. We truly ask for your patience with us as we move forward, so we can ensure all investigations are conducted with fidelity so we can do the very, very best to take care of our students and staff.”
The ongoing investigation has included claims from Simpkins’ family members who have insisted he was the victim of bullying and trying to protect himself. In the video message, Dr. Cantu did not specifically reference Simpkins’ claims but said the district officials take bullying allegations at Mansfield ISD “very, very seriously.”
“We do have a process in place, where bullying can be reported. It can be investigated. Action can be taken and will be taken if there are instances of bullying that are identified within Mansfield ISD,” Cantu said.
Cantu added the district would look to re-establish a school safety committee originally created years ago to review any potential improvements at their schools.