By CRAIG ALANIZ
The school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, December 14, sent shockwaves throughout the United States that were felt in the Laguna Madre area.
Point Isabel Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Lisa Garcia said the tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last week put emergency plans that are in place into review. She said it is a hard fact to accept tragedies like the school shooting can happen at any time.
“It is something we hate to think about, but we do have to be prepared for,” Garcia said.
PI-ISD schools have emergency plans put in place that are practiced as often as fire drills. Garcia said teachers are trained in different scenarios on how to evacuate or commit to the school building.
School Board President and mother of four students at PI-ISD, Jennifer Pinkerton said no words could express the shock she felt when she found out a school had fallen victim to a deranged gunman.
“Something like this makes you hug your kids tighter and realize how blessed you are,” Pinkerton said.
Security measures and safety polices are under constant review. Pinkerton said the district is always trying to find ways to make their schools safer. She said being aware of safety concerns is the best way to continue the effort.
The community of Newtown, Connecticut is comparable in size with the Laguna Madre area. Garcia said the district strives to build relationships with the students and community members to make a more caring culture. She said the district has different levels of help available for students and teachers to get help dealing with problems they may have.
“We have counselors at all the schools and can make referrals to outside help if needed,” Garcia said.
Garcia and Pinkerton said their prayers are with the victims of the shooting tragedy. They said as educators and parents, empathy could not be felt more.
“We hope the heroes of the tragedy will be remembered. I know teachers at our district would react the same way,” Pinkerton said.
Read this story in the Dec. 20 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.