Auburn Greater City School District School Board
Over the past few days, we have shared intense feelings of grief and mourning with countless community members, school staff and students following the horrific tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.
In Buffalo, our neighbor André Mackneil was killed while buying a birthday cake for his 3 year old son. Our board member, Dr. Rhoda Overstreet-Wilson, is one of many Auburn family members mourning her loss. His loss is also felt by those he touched refereeing youth sports and with whom he shared his warm smile.
On Tuesday, in a city similar in size to ours, 19 students and 2 adults were killed in another senseless act of premeditated gun violence. These children, mostly fourth graders, were only days away from the end of their school year. Their teachers died giving their lives trying to save as many students as they could.
In the weeks leading up to these events, Board Member Danielle Wood submitted her column for May 25, detailing our capital project, which aimed to make our elementary buildings more secure so that an intruder could not access our students and staff. That it happened the day after the events at Uvalde was a grim coincidence. We also have a close partnership with the Auburn Police Department, with School Resource Officers and Safety Monitors in every building. These actions and measures to ensure a safe learning environment are continuous and constantly reviewed; the capital project is only one part of this effort. Unfortunately, the possibility of these tragic events has been on the minds of our district leaders for many years.
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That our district and districts like ours across the country had to put plans in place for these tragedies is not normal. It is not normal that our students have to think about these things and participate in confinement exercises. It is not normal for parents to be afraid when they drop off their children in the days following yet another act of armed violence in a school. It is not normal for our staff to have to talk to their own children about giving their lives for their students.
No other nation has accepted the routine killing of schoolchildren as normal. We neither.
We call on the leaders of our nation and state to act with urgency, the urgency of frantic parents breaking down barriers to save their children.
If you are having a crisis, please visit nyprojecthope.org or call (844) 863-9314, and if you need help discussing these events with children, our school district offers this list of resources: https:/ /www.theeap.com/news-views/tools-for-parents-and-teachers-to-help-kids-cope-with-violence-and-scary-news . Our district now has school psychologists in each of our schools and has partnered with professionals from Cayuga Counseling to serve our schools and community.