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Local School Superintendents Address Texas Shooting Tragedy

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Several area school superintendents addressed the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school in messages to their communities.

Top officials in the Lakeland, Hendrick Hudson, Peekskill and Croton-Harmon school districts all ensured parents and families there would be increased police presence this week in schools following the May 24 incident at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas where an 18-year-old gunman murdered 19 students and two teachers before he was shot dead by police.

“I write to you with profound sadness regarding the devastating tragedy that took place in an elementary school in Texas. I have shared with the community many times that the Lakeland Central School District places safety, security, and emergency preparedness as a top priority,” Lakeland Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Gagliardi wrote.

“While schools are cautioned to take drastic actions in the wake of a serious incident, tragic incidents like this reinforce the critical need to ensure best practices are in place and followed in each of our schools. This includes comprehensive prevention measures, secure campuses, and solid emergency plans. As we learn more about what led to this event, we will again carefully evaluate our safety and security measures to ensure the safest possible environment for our school community,” she continued. “In addition to our dedicated School Resource Officers, we continually work with outside consultants and our law enforcement partners on validating best practices, identifying improvement opportunities, training our staff, and maintaining strong emergency response procedures when necessary.”

Hendrick Hudson Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter stated Westchester County Police would be deploying additional patrol units this week to all five of the district’s schools.

“Our hearts are broken for the school community and families impacted by this senseless act of violence. “We are in communication with our partners at Alteris, the district’s safety consultant, who are monitoring the situation in Texas and carefully evaluating our safety and security measures to ensure the safest possible environment for our school community.”

Peekskill Superintendent Dr. David Mauricio said Peekskill Police would be making its presence felt on school grounds.

“While we are still mourning the lives lost in the senseless tragedy in Buffalo, we are again deeply saddened by the loss of 19 children and two adults in the Texas tragedy that occurred yesterday,” Mauricio stated. “These tragedies remind us that we must do better as a nation and as communities to protect our children and the innocent. We must continue to band together as a community to embrace our differences and connect on what bonds us…a sense of humanity for all.”

Croton-Harmon Superintendent Stephen Walker told parents Croton Police would be keeping a close eye on students in the district.

“I know that as a community, we mourn for the loss that this Texas community is undoubtedly feeling, and for everyone who is impacted by this unimaginable tragedy,” Walker stated. “As a school district community of educators, parents, guardians, and community members, we all place the safety and well-being of our children, and of the people who work in and visit our schools, at the center of all that we do. For all of us, schools should represent places of hope and optimism for the possibility of a better and brighter future.”



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