Parents discuss school safety concerns in wake of Texas shooting

SEATTLE — This week’s tragic shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, has parents asking, “what’s being done to protect students?”

In Washington, school districts are re-evaluating their safety protocols and how students are being impacted.

Officials at Seattle Public Schools are providing resources for parents and students. SPS superintendent Dr. Brent Jones sent a letter to families on Wednesday.

Jones said students may be feeling more concerns about safety in school following the tragedy in Texas.

SPS sent families several resources on how to talk to children about the recent school shooting.

Jones said students may be feeling uneasy, scared, confused or angry.

District officials said they have put numerous measures in place to make sure schools are safe.

They said the district takes a four-pronged approach to safety that includes prevention or mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

The district also has a zero-tolerance policy against guns on campus. State law also makes it illegal for anyone to have a dangerous weapon on school property.

KIRO 7 also spoke with a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy who is also a school resource officer for two South Sound school districts.

She believes more schools should be investing in campus security.

“Unfortunately, it takes a situation like Texas for people recognizing having that right in their school. And my hope is that down the future as a learning experience they put safety as the number one priority for their students,” said Deputy Carly Capp.

The school shooting in Texas is also reigniting the debate on having armed school resource officers on campus.

Seattle, Tacoma and Edmonds school districts all voted in 2020 to remove school resource officers from their schools and end on-campus partnerships with law enforcement.

Districts across the country followed suit after nationwide protests against police brutality in 2020.

In Seattle, student advocates said police presence in schools was intimidating to many students.

Adrian Diaz, who was the assistant police chief when the decision to remove resource officers was made, called the decision disappointing.

Parents KIRO 7 spoke with are on both sides of the issue.

“I think it would be more frightening for them. Just having that armed presence,” said parent Daniel Wharton.

“It would 100% make me feel safer. Because kids don’t know what to do. And teachers don’t know what to do,” said parent Mariah Arnold.