Residents call for preventive measures at area schools after Conn. shooting

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Dec. 14, 2012 at 6:14 a.m.
Updated Dec. 15, 2012 at 6:15 a.m.

The tragedy of Friday's Connecticut school shooting caused Crossroads residents to stop and reflect.

"It's hard to hear that so many children were killed," said Connie Cuellar, the grandmother of three students at Hopkins Magnet Elementary School. "I'm still in shock."

She suggested tighter security steps should be taken to make Victoria campuses safer.

School resource officers from the Victoria County Sheriff's Office work at the district's campuses with a deputy assigned to all campuses within the city. However, the deputies assigned to the elementary schools are stationed at the district's four middle schools on a daily basis.

Campuses in the rural areas do not do not have an assigned school resource officer, but in the event of shooting, a patrolling deputy in the area would respond to the call, said Capt. Abel Arriazola.

"They would be there within minutes," Arriazola said. "An officer on the scene would head directly toward the sound of the shooter to stabilize the situation."

VISD spokeswoman Diane Boyett said while campus employees are not permitted to have deadly weapons on campus, preventative measures are taken including periodic safety drills, locked doors and strict screening at the front offices.

In the event of a shooting at a rural school, teachers would have direct contact with a campus SRO via radio, said Arriazola.

Employees and parents are also encouraged to make the schools aware of divorce and restraining orders.

"It gives us the ability to give campuses a head's up," Boyett said.

Counseling services will be made available Monday for parents and students traumatized by Friday's events, Boyett said.

Edna school district superintendent Bob Wells said their campuses have undergone more active shooter training sessions since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.

In the training, they talk about exits and lockdowns and the process of evacuation, Wells said.

Visitors must enter the front door and pass through the office to get to the students on the Edna elementary campuses.

"Columbine brought the possibility of school shootings to the public's forefront," Wells said. "It was a landmark event for public school safety. Schools are supposed to be safe sanctuaries."

The Advocate's J.R. Ortega also contributed to this report.

Related stories:

Police look for link between gunman, school (photo gallery), click here.

Man kills 26 at Conn. school, including 20 kids, click HERE

Author shares his struggle with son's mental illness during talk at Victoria College in 2010, click HERE



Powered By AffectDigitalMedia