Harrisonburg schools feel aftermath of Texas shooting
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Valley schools are dealing with the aftermath of Tuesday’s deadly school shooting in Texas. In Harrisonburg, the Police Department increased patrols around schools on Wednesday.
On Wednesday WHSV caught up with Harrisonburg City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Richards and Police Chief Kelley Warner, who have been in communication to provide an increased law enforcement presence around schools through the rest of the week.
“My heart aches for those families who are in that nightmare. I also feel a lot of empathy for all of our families in America that send their children to school and every day they watch them go into those schools and they know that this sort of thing can happen,” said Dr. Richards. “I have two children in Harrisonburg City Schools as we speak so I empathize with that anxiety.”
Richards said that when this sort of tragedy happens, the school division takes time to evaluate its safety protocols.
“We use it as a reminder to always keep ourselves updated when it comes to our own state-of-the-art protocols. Protocols around perimeter control, school security, and protocols around mental health,” said Richards.
HCPS is also providing resources to help students and staff cope with what happened.
“Our mental health teams also provide direct assistance and consulting with our staff who are working with the students. We’ve also encouraged students to see a counselor as needed,” said Richards.
Harrisonburg Police Chief Kelley Warner called the shooting a gut-wrenching tragedy. She said that shooters often show red flags prior to committing these atrocities and urges community members to speak up if they see or hear something suspicious.
“They’re gonna indicate in some fashion of their intention, it’s called leakage. We need you, our community, to report that. No matter how small you think it is, let us investigate it,” said Warner.
Warner urged parents to have conversations with their children about what happened.
“Parents, police, and schools we’ve got to stay in touch with our kids. Please take time to talk to your kids about this and speak up. See something, say something, hear something, say something,” she said.
Warner said there will be increased patrols around schools into next week. She added that HPD’s school resources officers are doing what they can to provide extra care to students and are staying on alert.
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