In wake of Texas school shooting, school resource officers to ‘be more visible and vigilant’ as division works to increase police presence near schools

Published 10:27 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2022

 Suffolk Public Schools has increased security measures in the wake of the shooting deaths Tuesday of 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary in the south Texas city of Uvalde. 

Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III said in a letter to parents Wednesday that all in the school division were shocked and saddened by what happened there and “share in the heartbreak we are feeling for the families who have lost a loved one and extend our sympathy to the students, parents, staff and entire Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District community.”

He said as added precautions, school resource officers “will be more visible and vigilant” in school buildings as safety monitors continue to regulate check-in and check-out procedures to make sure all building access points are secure. 

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The division has also been in touch with the Suffolk Police Department to increase the police presence near schools. Suffolk Police has said it holds one to two active-shooter drills each year to review procedures and protocols. 

Gordon also said school counselors will be available at each school to help students needing extra support. The division has also added a separate page on crisis-response resources on its website at spsk12.net/families/crisis_response_resources. 

“Keeping our students and staff safe is our top priority,” Gordon said. “Our strong partnership with the Suffolk Police Department and Suffolk Fire & Rescue allows school administrators and community leaders to work together quickly and efficiently on threat assessments, investigations, and other safety concerns.”

He also noted that every division school has a crisis-management plan that has been approved by the Virginia Department of Education, and students, staff and administrators regularly take part in safety and lockdown drills to help prepare for a crisis and understand their respective roles and responsibilities. 

“Schools should and must be a place where students feel completely safe and secure,” Gordon said. “As we process such an act of senseless violence, I remind you to hug your loved ones tighter and hold on a little longer. We look to the days when school shootings stop, and schools can continue to focus on the joys of teaching and learning.”

Note: The School Board’s May 25 special meeting to adopt its budget was postponed since the General Assembly has yet to approve a budget. A new meeting date will be determined when the state budget is approved.