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Schools Across U.S. Boost Security After Uvalde Massacre

After the elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Tx., schools around the U.S. have brought in more security staff and restricted visitors as they deal with a new rash of copycat threats. For some families and educators it all has added to uneasiness after the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School, reports the Associated Press. J

Jake Green, 34, of Los Alamos, N.M., was jolted when he saw a plainclothes police officer for the first time while walking his 7-year-old daughter into school Friday. He grew up in Colorado, not far from where two Columbine High School students fatally shot 12 classmates and a teacher in 1999. Green is torn over whether having police at his daughter’s school is best. “In a way, I don’t really feel any safer with police around,” Green said. “Seeing the police there, it really made it seem like the worst possibility was even more possible today.”

In El Paso, Tx., where a gunman killed 23 people in a 2019 attack that targeted Hispanics at a Walmart, schools are on edge. The El Paso school district has already encountered some reported threats that turned out to be false. They were either “students joking or overly-sensitive parents,” said school spokesman Gustavo Reveles Acosta. The district, which has its own police department, has stepped up patrolling at all 85 campuses.

Officers have been pulled from monitoring traffic or other duties. Schools have updated camera surveillance systems. Visitors are required to ring a doorbell and show identification before they can enter. Schools have ramped up police presence in several states, including Connecticut, Michigan and New York, after the shooting Tuesday that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

In Buffalo, where a white gunman fatally shot 10 people in a racist attack in a supermarket on May 14, the largest school district announced new security rules. Any visitors — parents, siblings, vendors — must call ahead for approval. They may be subjected to a search by a wand detector. Doors will be locked at all times.

In Jacksonville, Fl., the Duval County Public Schools’ chief of school police banned backpacks or large handbags at any school through Friday, the last day of school. Small purses were allowed but could be searched.

A discredited threat against a middle school prompted a Texas school 200 miles southeast of Uvalde to end the school year a week early. The Kingsville Independent School District announced Friday would be the last day of school.

“In light of the tragedy in Uvalde, there has been an enormous amount of stress and trauma. Unfortunately, more stress and trauma are added with ‘copy-cat threats’ that start circulating," said Superintendent Dr. Cissy Reynolds-Perez.


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