Comforting thoughts in aftermath of Texas school shooting

Published 2:00 pm Sunday, June 5, 2022

The attack on Robb Elementary School shook many across the country.

Last week, 19 students between seven and 10 years old and two teachers were slain during a shooting at the school in Uvalde, Texas. This was the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, during which 28 were killed.

As mass shootings appear to be increasing across the country, many are left wondering if they or their children are safe at school or at the grocery store.

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However, schools seem to face even more scrutiny for their safety protocols after a tragedy.

We can find some comfort in knowing our local schools continue to uphold safety as a top priority, whether the threat is a potential bomb, gunman or a virus.

While we should always be diligent, it makes us feel safer to know that the Natchez Adams School District and local law enforcement chose to err on the side of caution when potentially dangerous situations occurred.

An example of this happened last week. On Thursday, Devonte Perry allegedly fired randomly into the air at the Natchez Chevrolet GMC car dealership on Devereux Drive. An officer reportedly saw him take off on foot into the woods toward Natchez High School. Authorities immediately took action to lock the school down. Perry was arrested on U.S. 61 North at the city limits without incident. We hope authorities continue to keep their guard up when the Texas incident leaves the forefront of media coverage and becomes a painful memory.

It also puts our minds at ease to know additional safety measures were being taken by the school district long before the Texas school shooting.

A new high school that is now nearing completion will have a modern design built with security in mind, such as doors that open to the inside of the building and gated entry into the joining high school and middle school campuses.

Additionally, NASD received grants earlier this year that will help them improve security at all of its school campuses. NASD was one of six school districts in Mississippi to benefit from a competitive federal COPS grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The district was awarded $439,787 with a 25% match requirement, which school officials said would be used for fencing the two elementary schools and improving surveillance and intercom systems district-wide, installing card readers at entry doors and more. A second $20,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Education with a $20,000 match requirement would support the salaries of two school resource officers who work with local law enforcement agencies to stop campus crimes.

Our hearts grieve with the Robb Elementary families. Nothing can fix the loss of life.

What we can do is pray for them and set up defenses for our children so they can be safe.