‘Hard to process the tragedy’: Houston-area school districts offer condolences, react to mass shooting at Uvalde elementary school

(Sergio Flores For The Texas Tribune, Sergio Flores For The Texas Tribune)

HOUSTON – School districts across the Houston area are responding after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two adults dead.

The shooting, which occurred at Robb Elementary School, was one of the deadliest shootings at a U.S. grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago.

Here are statements from faculty and staff to students and parents from districts across the area:

Alief ISD

Dear Alief Staff Members, Parents and Students, I am sure you are aware of the senseless shooting incident at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. At the time that this letter was written, it was unclear how many lives have been lost to yet another incident of gun violence. I ask that you keep those injured and the families of those who lost their loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. Safety and security is our first priority, therefore we continuously review our emergency procedures and protocols to ensure we are doing everything possible to protect our students and staff. However, the most effective procedure we can all exercise is to be visible and report suspicious behaviors and/or people immediately. As parents, we ask that you have candid conversations with your children about the importance of reporting anything threatening or suspicious to a responsible adult or police officer. To help support students as they process this tragic event, the Alief ISD counseling team will be deployed across the district.

Sincerely,

HD Chambers

Superintendent, Alief ISD

Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated ISD

Conroe ISD

I write to you tonight with a broken heart for our neighbors in Uvalde. Families across our community, State, and Nation are hugging their loved ones close as we all process this tragedy. Safety is always our top priority in Conroe ISD. We are fortunate to have the third largest law enforcement agency in Montgomery County with our Conroe ISD Police Department. As a proactive measure, our Conroe ISD officers will have an increased presence over the next two days with all officers on duty and on campuses. Additionally, we have support from local agencies, including the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Conroe Police Department, who will have a presence at our schools. I encourage you to visit our Safety Information webpage to learn more about some of the procedures we have in place to provide a safe learning environment for all students. Students and parents may report any suspected threats to campus administration. Reports can also be made through CISD’s KidChat hotline at 1-888-KidChat (543-2428) 24-hours a day or our Anonymous Alerts app. Our greatest safety measure is vigilance.

Sincerely,

Dr. Curtis Null Superintendent

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD

As news of another heartbreaking act of violence on a school campus unfolds, I extend my sincerest sympathy to the community of Uvalde, Texas, dealing with this tragedy.

We want our schools to be the safest places our students and staff can be. CFISD continually reviews emergency procedures and protocols. We will remain on high alert with greater visibility of CFISD police officers and administrators for the next two days. We encourage students to report any suspicious behaviors to a staff member or to the CFISD Tipline.

Read more from CFISD Superintendent Dr. Mark Henry.

Fort Bend ISD

Galena Park ISD

Houston ISD

HISD Superintendent Millard House II and HISD Police Assistant Chief Lucretia Rogers discussed school safety and security at a press conference Wednesday following the shooting.

“Like so many of you, I am heartbroken and at a loss for words about the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde. Grief overwhelms the soul,” House said. “I’m a superintendent entrusted with the hope and promise of your children being safe and learning on an everyday basis. But first, I’m a dad.”

House said parents talking to their children about their worries and concerns are the first steps to help them feel safe and begin to cope with the recent school shootings. He noted that the district utilizes a Sandy Hook Something App for all students and parents to use. The program instills three steps: How to look for warning signs and threats, how to act immediately and how to tell a trusted adult.

HISD said it has several safety measures currently in place to keep staff and students safe, such as annual active shooting training, active attack integrative response training and working to beef up its response team.

Watch the full press conference below:

Katy ISD

Dear Katy ISD Parents/Guardians and Staff,

It is becoming all too frequent that we learn of school shootings that impact families and communities across our country. I know that so many in our school community are devastated by the senseless act of violence and loss of life that occurred as a result of an active shooter event at Robb Elementary in Uvalde CISD today. I also know that every single one of us are extending thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the victims, families, and entire Uvalde community.

Schools are supposed to be safe places for learning and growing. As part of our school district’s standard safety procedures in place to meet that goal, each Katy ISD campus has emergency response plans that are continually reviewed and updated. Likewise, our safety and crisis teams constantly work alongside partner law enforcement and mental health agencies to ensure we are consistently evaluating and implementing measures to minimize the risks associated with these kinds of tragedies.

While local law enforcement has informed that there is no existing threat to Katy ISD schools or facilities, because we are at the end of the school year with a number of highly attended events taking place, our police and safety teams will have a greater presence across our community the next few days.

As we always say, staff, parents, students and community play an important role in keeping our schools safe by reporting potential threats or safety concerns. Thank you for your continuous partnership and support of Katy ISD students and campuses.

Sincerely,

Ken Gregorski, Ed.D. Superintendent

Klein ISD

Our hearts are broken for our neighbors in Uvalde and the many lives lost.

We will have a highly visible police presence until the end of the week. All Klein ISD Police Department officers will be on duty and on campuses. Local law enforcement agencies will also be present in the district.

Pasadena ISD

Dear Pasadena ISD Community,

We are deeply saddened to learn about the tragedy that occured this afternoon at Robb Elementary School at Uvalde CISD. Our thoughts and prayers are with each and every Uvalde community member affected by this tragic event. We are continuously evaluating our safety and security measures to ensure that we provide a safe environment for our students and staff. Our counselors and district administrators are on standby to provide support for students, staff and families if needed during this difficult time. We want to extend our special thanks to our Pasadena ISD Police, City of Pasadena Police, Precinct 2 and Precinct 8 for providing additional patrols tomorrow and Thursday for added safety.

Sincerely,

Dr. DeeAnn Powell

Royal ISD

Good evening,

As news unfolds of another act of violence on a school campus, our thoughts and prayers are with the families, school district, and community of Uvalde ISD. As always, we remain diligent in our efforts to keep our schools safe and the safety of our students and staff remains our top priority. As always, we encourage students, staff, and the community to “see something, say something”.

As you decide how to share this news with your children, we would like to provide some articles that may provide guidance:

Sincerely,

Rick KershnerRoyal ISD Superintendent

Sealy ISD

SISD Families,

Tonight we are heartbroken for the Uvalde school community. As a father and superintendent it is hard to process the tragedy that unfolded this afternoon. Naturally, events like today cause anxiety about the safety of our students at school. Sealy ISD and our community have always prioritized school safety and we have many safeguards in place to prevent tragic events. We are not perfect and we have areas where we can improve but we will leave no stone unturned to create as safe of a school environment as possible.

Read more from Sealy ISD Superintendent Dr. Bryan Hallmark here.

Spring ISD

Note: This story will be updated as we receive more statements.

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