Balloon ban at Rio Hondo ISD

Already a drug and weapons free zone, the Rio Hondo Independent School district is now also a balloon free zone.

The move came Monday, as student in elementary school to high school, were sent home with notices informing parents that balloons - whether for parties, birthdays or upcoming Valentine's Day - are prohibited on campus.

Superintendent Annalise McMinn tells Action 4 News, administrators and principals made the decision last week following the death of San Benito student, 7-year-old Ruby Ramirez.

According to autopsy results, the girl asphyxiated on a balloon.

She passed out at school, and later died at the hospital.

Jessica Macias, mother of two, agrees with the district TMs proactive approach.

"(The incident) was a big shock, Macias said. Obviously, the first thing that came to my mind was my child and that (parent TMs grief). Losing the life of (her) child at such a young age, for something that could've been avoided."

McMinn said although Ruby was not a student in her district, the incident shed light on national statistics regarding balloon deaths.

She said she'd like to keep her district incident free.

"I think it's good that the district is taking action in trying to reduce these type of situations, Macias said. Although it can happen anywhere, I think it's good that at least at school, it's not going to happen there."

McMinn doesn't believe the restrictions are crossing the line, but rather following common sense safety procedures - like restrictions regarding peanut products to protect children that are allergic.

San Benito Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Antonio Limon said, his district isn't banning balloons, but there are new rules in place in lieu of Ruby's death.

"We've spoken to principals about this and we are looking at balloons (used) for instructional purposes only, Limon said. Use them only when teachers use them as a means for instruction, making sure they don TMt give all of them to students, and making sure we don TMt use balloons as rewards of any sort."