Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares on Tuesday issued the following statement on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Today, an unspeakable tragedy occurred at an elementary school in the city of Uvalde, Texas.
Far too often, we have seen horrific scenes like this play out, with places like Newtown, Parkland and Columbine High etched into our collective consciousness. Now, once again, we are left to try to make sense of a senseless act, one that cut short the lives of at least 19 innocent children and two adults at Robb Elementary School.
Violence on this scale at a school is almost impossible to process. We are heartbroken. We are angry. We are frustrated, dismayed and dispirited as we mourn with students, parents and staff who face a grief that is unimaginable. But remember that we mourn this loss together based on shared values that extend through Orange County and across the country, and we must work together to find solutions with compassion and collaboration.
As we learn more about today’s events, OCDE will continue to partner with the 28 school districts of Orange County to provide support for the whole child, ensuring our students feel safe, protected and ready to learn. Meanwhile, we will also continue to strategize with our law enforcement partners to make sure we are taking all precautions necessary to keep our campuses safe.
In California, every public school is required by law to annually update its Comprehensive School Safety Plan with detailed responses to various scenarios. We embrace this work. Our department also collaborates with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and other local law enforcement agencies to analyze everything from cyberbullying to securing school facilities.
Additionally, my office works closely with the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center, or OCIAC, which leverages the reach and resources of the Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to detect, investigate and prevent criminal and terrorist activity. OCDE and the Sheriff’s Department also team up every summer to host a three-day Safe Schools Conference with the California Department of Education.
In the days and weeks ahead, education and law enforcement leaders from Orange County and beyond will ask what, if any, lessons can be drawn from this unconscionable tragedy. In the meantime, our hearts go out to the Robb Elementary School community and all who are suffering.
Al Mijares, Ph.D. Orange County Superintendent of Schools