Out of the 18 school shootings that occurred in the early months of 2018, Jan 22. stands out to residents of Ellis County. Yet, not even a month has passed, and nine more shootings places of education have occurred, with the most recent unfolding in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In response to the shooting that resulted in the death of 17 people, superintendents at Waxahachie ISD and Red Oak are delivering messages of safety, strength, and compassion to students and parents.
WISD Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Glenn is taking extra precautions to ensure school officers, students and faculty are prepared for any possible threat to students' safety. Via an email sent Wednesday to all faculty and staff, Glenn requested a higher presence of law enforcement on WISD campuses in the coming weeks.
But, in the coming days, campus principals will notify staff and plan to conduct lock-down drills. A police officer will be present at the schools during the time of the drills “to ensure we adhere to best practices.” Following the drill schedule, active-shooter training will be subjected to campus faculty.
Glenn extended prayers to the victims in Italy, Benton, Kentucky and Parkland, Florida, and hopes “that our district is never faced with similar senseless violence.”
“However, as educators, we have a duty to be prepared to protect our students and staff,” Glenn added. “In the coming weeks, we will review our safety procedures and work with trustees to add additional security systems and personnel to our district.”
Red Oak ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Goddard released a statement early Thursday that extended thoughts and prayers from the Hawk family to those affected in Florida.
“My heart hurt as I thought about the families of the victims and all those impacted by this event. I unashamedly pray for our students and staff each morning, and this morning with even deeper compassion and thankfulness,” Goddard wrote.
He affirmed that Red Oak police, as well as administrators, take every opportunity to learn from the event that took place. Goddard elaborated, stating school officers underwent training to specialize in school security.
Each month, staff and students at ROISD practice safety drills and even have dedicated days in the school year to safety awareness.
But, Goddard emphasized how it takes a collaborative effort of citizens in homes, churches and the community to make sure children are safe. He suggested:
• Don’t let strangers through doors or prop doors open at a campus
• Report any people you do not recognize to your teacher or the front office
• Listen to staff when they are giving directions
As of Feb. 14, multiple reports show there have been 18 school shootings across the United States since Jan. 1. Three of those occurred in Texas.
On Jan. 15, two suspects exchanged gunfire with a person in a dormitory parking lot at Wiley College in Marshall. On Jan. 10, a student fired a bullet through a wall after mistaking the weapon for a training gun at Grayson College in Denison. The Italy High School shooting marked number three.
Out of the 18 school shootings, not all were related to an active shooter situation, and not all of the shootings on campuses resulted in injury or death.
According to WFAA, since 2013, there have been nearly 300 school shootings in the U.S., averaging about once a week.