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US schools step up security after Texas shooting

After the massacre at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas Schools across the US have hired extra security staff and restricted visitors as they cope with a new wave of copycat threats.

For some families and educators, this all led to uneasiness afterwards the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Jake Green, 34, of Los Alamos, New Mexico, was shocked when he first saw a plainclothes police officer as he was taking his 7-year-old daughter to school on Friday morning. He grew up in Colorado, not far from where two Columbine High School students were shot and killed 12 classmates and a teacher in 1999. Green recalls attending memorial services and candlelight vigils as a fifth grader, but he’s torn whether with the police at his daughter’s school is best.

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“In a way, I don’t really feel safer having the police around,” Green said. “When I saw the police there, it really looked like the worst possibility was even more possible today.”

A gunman killed 23 people in El Paso, Texas a racist attack from 2019 targeting Hispanics at a Walmart, schools are nervous. The El Paso Independent School District has already encountered a few reported threats that turned out to be false. They were either “joking students or overly sensitive parents,” said Gustavo Reveles Acosta, a district spokesman.

“Our community is still raw from this incident,” Acosta said. “It hits us quite emotionally.”

The district, which has its own police department, has also increased patrols at all 85 locations. Officers were taken away from monitoring traffic or other duties. Schools already have updated camera surveillance systems. Visitors must ring the doorbell and identify themselves before entering.

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The district emphasizes taking care of the mental health of teachers and students. An advisory team has visited each school to talk about the Uvalde shooting. They also urge people to speak privately about emergencies.

Mia Baucom, a 15-year-old high school student in Forth Worth, Texas, said it was surreal to think the Uvalde murders happened in her home state. It stirred too Memories of a lockdown at her school two months ago, triggered by a shooting.

“I’m a little more stressed about it because I’m just scared of what will happen if this happens at my school?” said Baucom, whose last day of school was Thursday. “Let’s assume we get more cops. Most likely, that won’t stop people from going crazy and just shooting schools.”

Schools have increased police presence in a number of states, including Connecticut, Michigan and New York, after Tuesday’s shooting, that remained 19 students and two teachers dead.

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in the buffalo, new york, where a white gunman fatally shot 10 people in a racist attack at a supermarket on May 14, the largest school district announced new safety rules effective immediately. All visitors – parents, siblings, vendors – must call ahead to obtain permission. No exceptions will be made. They can be searched through a magic wand detector. The doors will be locked at all times.

In Jacksonville, Fla., the Duval County Public Schools school police chief banned backpacks or large handbags at all schools 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 district 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Uvalde to end the school year a week early. The Kingsville Independent School District announced that Friday would be the last day of school. But students should not see any punishment for the early end of the year.

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“There was an enormous amount of stress and trauma in the face of the tragedy in Uvalde. Unfortunately, even more stress and trauma is being added by “copycat threats” being circulated, like the one sent out to Gillett (middle school) today,” wrote Superintendent Dr. Cissy Reynolds-Perez in a statement on the county’s website.

It’s clear that staff and students across the country are nervous as multiple reports of gun sightings on campus have surfaced in recent days.

Two Seattle-area schools went into lockdown Friday morning, and police eventually recovered an airsoft gun. Schools in Everett, Washington were subsequently lifted from lockdown.

Two people were arrested Thursday after a Denver high school locked down its campus. Police found a paintball gun but no other firearms. The lessons were canceled anyway.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/05/29/after-texas-shooting-schools-around-us-boost-security/ US schools step up security after Texas shooting

Sarah Y. Kim

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