School is out for the summer, but in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, many Aransas County residents have asked what the Aransas County Independent School District does to prevent such tragic events.

ACISD Superintendent Dr. Joshua Garcia posted the following on the school district’s Facebook page the day of the Uvalde tragedy:

“Parents and families of ACISD: Our hearts are broken for our fellow Texans at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. We ask that you keep the families of the victims and the community in your thoughts and prayers. As such, the safety and security of our students is always at the forefront of our decisions. We regularly practice, review, and update our emergency procedures. Yet, the most effective procedure we can all exercise is to be visible and report any suspicious behaviors and/or people immediately.”

The post went on to note the ACISD is fortunate to have its own police officers that monitor daily school activities, and that there would be an increased police presence with local law enforcement agencies as the district closed out the school year.

(Note: The Uvalde shooting occurred Tuesday, May 24. The last day of classes in the ACISD was Thursday, May 26.)

Responding to a request for information about precautions the district has in place, Dr. Garcia said, “The school board has been extremely supportive of increasing our safety and security since my arrival.

“In 2021-22 we hired ACISD Chief of Police Brian Tullis, hired additional ACISD police officers, increased our collaboration with local law enforcement officers, and conducted active shooter table tops trainings with each of our campuses.

“All staff were trained in Stop-the-Bleed, and we have an increased number of staff who are CPR trained.”

Dr. Garcia said the ACISD is actively researching the Marshall and Guardian programs and hope to have a decision soon.

“We will continue to evaluate and update our current processes and procedures, reunification plans, emergency operation plans, and training opportunities.”

As expected, the local superintendent said, “There will more than likely be some directives coming to the district from the governor’s office through the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that we will utilize to update our safety plans.

“Our students, teachers, staff, parents, and community expect us to provide the safest learning environment (buildings) and we are working diligently to ensure that we go above and beyond these expectations.”

Governor Greg Abbott requested on June 1 special legislative committees to provide solutions to protect all Texans.

He said the special legislative committees should be charged with examining and developing legislative recommendations on school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety, and more.

“As Texans mourn the tragedy that occurred at Robb Elementary School, we as a State must reassess the twin issues of school safety and mass violence,” said Abbot. “As leaders, we must come together at this time to provide solutions to protect all Texans.”

Two days later Gov. Abbott sent a letter to TEA Commissioner Mike Morath directing the TEA to provide strategies to make Texas public schools safer.

Gov. Abbott specifically requested TEA to:

• Instruct school districts to identify actions they can take prior to the start of the new school year that will make their campuses more secure.

• Instruct all school districts to conduct weekly inspections of exterior doors to verify they are secure during school hours.

• Develop strategies to encourage school districts to increase the presence of trained law enforcement officers and school marshals on campuses.

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