Alief’s former ISD teacher asks for help to secure Best Elementary School after she was attacked during an attempted student kidnapping

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – A former Alief ISD teacher stood before the Houston City Council Tuesday afternoon asking for help building a fence at Best Elementary School.

“I did not know, what I should do. I asked for help and no one helped me,” Marie Cortes said as she explained why she was asking Houston City Council members for help.

Cortes then recounted the trauma she experienced when a woman went to the playground during recess and tried to kidnap a student on December 14, 2021.

“For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel safe. I was afraid. I did not know, what I should do. What if this lady had a gun?” Cortes told the councillors.

The intruder punched Cortes, threw her phone on the ground, and then grabbed a second student.

Fortunately, other teachers intervened and no children were taken off the property. But in the months since that attack, Cortes says, she has met individually with Alief’s principal and ISD administrators to seek solutions. Nobody came.

Cortes said the stress caused her to resign months later.

RELATED: Alief’s former ISD teacher is fighting for elementary school security after an intruder tried to take children away

“From that day on, my life changed completely. And I’m here to get help,” she told council members and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Cortes is asking for one thing – a secured fence around the Best Elementary School playground to replace the small chain link fence that is broken and does not fully enclose the playground.

Councilor Edward Pollard, representing District J, says he’s been working to improve security around the school. This is near a popular prostitution spot in Southwest Houston.

He declined to speak to ABC13 on camera but during the council meeting he told Cortes: ‘OK so this appears to be an Alief ISD issue which my office will be working with you to resolve with you coordinate.”

Regarding the incident, Alief ISD provided the following statement:

“The playground at Best Elementary School was built by the SPARK School Park Program, which develops community parks on public school campuses. As part of the partnership agreement with SPARK Park, the park will remain open to the public after the school day and the district is working on a permanent solution.”

“SPARK has no problem with AISD fencing around SPARK Park. SPARK requires a pedestrian gate to be opened after the school day. Weekends and bank holidays until dusk,” SPARK Park chief executive Kathleen Ownby told ABC13.

“I mean, if that were your kid, wouldn’t you want 24/7 protection there?” Cortes asked. “I still feel the butterflies because they said they will try to help me, they didn’t say they actually will.”

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Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. Alief’s former ISD teacher asks for help to secure Best Elementary School after she was attacked during an attempted student kidnapping

Dais Johnston

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