Rio Grande Valley, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Schools across the Valley are increasing security and safety protocols after the shooting at a Uvalde, TX elementary school that left 19 students and two staff members dead.
“When times like this come up and we feel that there’s a need to just reassure the public our police officer partners throughout the community always step up and they voluntarily step up and they provide additional resources,” said Harlingen CISD’s director of emergency management and school safety, Danny Castillo.
He said the school district has a long-time partnership with local police departments and after the Uvalde shooting, the district is increasing its police and security presence.
William Edmundson, Pharr Police Department’s deputy chief, said they are assisting campuses in their area.
“All of our officers have gone through active shooter training, so if there is a situation involving something like that at a campus, in conjunction of course with the PSJA school district officers, any officer or law enforcement can respond…we do have that training,” said Edmundson.
He said the heightened security will continue until the end of the school year.
Heightened security is also being done at Point Isabel ISD schools.
“Having that extra layer of police protection in addition to our I-S-D police department and security officers, I believe that that was reassuring to our parents as they dropped off their children this morning,” said Point Isabel ISD’s superintendent, Teri Capistran.
She said multiple police departments are assisting in patrolling Point Isabel ISD campuses including constables and Port Isabel, South Padre Island, and Laguna Vista police departments.
Capistran said Point Isabel ISD has a total of 1,950 students and added that the school has safety protocols in place but has been working on expanding its safety plan.
As with many small school districts, she said funds are limited.
“This is where we have to look at other means of receiving those resources. So, as a result of that, we had already identified some areas that we want to hopefully be able to implement in the summer and have those procedures and protocols ready when our students come back in the fall,” said Capistran.
She said safety is the top priority over anything and the district will be applying for grants to increase safety on campuses.
“Our Tarpon community as well as all of our school districts in the Rio Grande Valley, stand with the Uvalde Community, she said.
For a list of Valley school districts and their additional security measures, click here.