• Katherine Martine

Schools focus on student mental health in wake of Texas shooting

In the wake of last month’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the Reed Union School District continues to review safety protocols and provide students opportunities to openly discuss mental health, while local police say they’ve temporarily stepped up patrols surrounding the district’s three campuses as a precaution.


Nineteen students and two teachers were killed May 24, with 17 more injured, by an 18-year-old who stormed adjoining classrooms at the school wielding an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle in the worst mass school shooting since Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. The suspect was later shot dead by a Border Patrol tactical unit that had responded to the scene.


The Uvalde shooting was the 30th at a K-12 school this year and just one of a spate of recent mass shootings to make headlines across the U.S., including at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., at a church in Orange County and at a hospital in Tulsa, Okla., that have once again renewed calls to advance gun-safety legislation that has long stalled in Congress, including bans on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines and a strengthening of red-flag intervention laws.


However, as of June 5, there had been 246 mass shootings — in which at least four people not including the shooter have been injured by gunfire — in the first 156 days of 2022, with 33 of those since Uvalde, according to statistics compiled by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. Over the June 4-5 weekend, 15 people were killed and 61 injured in mass-shooting events.


The shooting in Uvalde has also shone a spotlight on police response and transparency to those types of mass-casualty incidents. After responding at Robb Elementary, the chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department made the call to wait for backup before officers entered the classroom to confront the gunman, a decision that has since drawn criticism from the Texas Department of Public Safety and other law-enforcement agencies. Meanwhile, trapped children repeatedly called 911 begging for help. By the time a special team of federal officers arrived, ignored orders not to breach the school and entered after getting keys from a janitor, an hour and 17 minutes had passed. During that time, parents gathered outside the school, begged police officers to enter and, in some cases, were restrained by officers as they tried to enter the school to rescue their children.


Afterward, police then repeatedly provided the public with false or contradictory information about the incident.


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