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El Paso area school districts react to Roswell school shooting
By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO, Texas -- After a shooting devastates a Roswell, N.M., middle school, local school districts and parents are reacting. Especially because media outlets report a teacher stepped in to stop the Roswell shooter, the solution has some residents wondering whether that was the right plan of action.
"He did the right thing, I think. He took a chance because he had to protect the other kids," east El Paso resident Brigitte Edwards said.
Local school district officials said teachers have already been preparing for emergency situations.
Socorro Independent School District Chief Communications Officer Daniel Escobar sent KFOX14 the following statement:
"The safety and security of students and staff on campus is our number one priority. The district and each school have safety committees which work to ensure that every employee is prepared to respond in case of an emergency. Primarily, employees are asked to secure the safety of students and themselves in any emergency situation."
El Paso Independent School spokesperson Renee De Santos sent KFOX14 the following statement:
"EPISD Police Services works closely with campuses in the El Paso Independent School District on their individualized emergency management plan. The plan addresses a variety of emergency situations and the roles teachers and staff play to safeguard students and themselves."
Ysleta Independent School District Public Relations Director Patricia Ayala also sent KFOX14 the following statement:
"In an effort to maintain a safe and secure learning and working environment throughout our district, YISD provides emergency response and lock down training to all of its campuses throughout the year as mandated by the Texas School Safety Center. During an emergency, YISD activates their District Crisis Management Response Team to assist campuses during an emergency and/or crisis."
Ysleta Teachers Association President Arlinda Valencia also said area teachers go through routine lockdown drills to practice reacting to gunshots in schools.
"You are automatically to run to the door, grab whatever stragglers are out there as far as students are concerned, grab them, pull them into your room, shut the door, lock it and turn out the lights," Valencia said.
"We should take precautions, but I don't think anybody could ever be prepared for things like this to happen," northeast El Paso resident Erynn Hines said.
Valencia also said it's important teachers keep students as far away from the classroom door as possible.
"Remember, principals all have keys to your door. They wouldn't be asking you to open up. We're told that, don't ever answer the door. Whoever is coming to get you out will have the key," Valencia said.
Because the Roswell shooting happened in the school's gymnasium, the teacher association also expects area teachers to be prepared to handle a similar situation in their work environment.
"Every teacher has their own instructions that they have to go by, so if you work in the gym, you would have your set rules as to where you're supposed to be," Valencia said.