Following the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, many parents have been expressing concern about the safety of their kids in the classroom. In response, officials from local school districts have been speaking up to explain how they keep students safe and emphasize that their schools prepare for things like this.

“The acts were abhorrent,” said Jay Lebrun, the Plattsburgh School District Superintendent. “I feel anger and sadness and impotence and increasingly frustrated.”

Lebrun says that their schools have held lockdown drills. “They center upon securing students and isolating them from the threat until they arrive. They are about as routine per students and staff as fire evacuation drills.”

“Coming in this morning is with a very heavy heart,” said Jean Berthiaume, Co-Principal at the Winooski Middle and High School. The Winooski School District says it keeps track of everyone who enters their buildings. “Anyone coming into our building has a reason to be here.”

Berthiaume is also a part of the Winooski Safe Committee, which meets once a week to evaluate the safety between the school and the community, and he encourages kids and parents to say something if they see anything.

Lebrun adds that he would like to see more emphasis being placed on mental health. “Many districts have endeavored to proactively address these things through the identification of students in distress through expanded mental health services,” said Lebrun. “I would just call again on the inflammatory comments against our communities.”

“There are lots of stresses in society that we just can’t ignore,” said Berthiaume. “We need to engage the mental health community and doctors in issues around safety, especially around mental health.”

The Champlain Valley Superintendents Association released a statement that reads: “While our districts have reached out to our own school communities today, we are united in our response to this unacceptable and horrific act of violence. We want to assure families and staff that all of our districts regularly participate in crisis drills and training and have a number of protections in place to make sure our schools are safe for all students.”

“Perhaps with a greater degree of empathy and concern with one-another, we are able to curve this alarming trend,” said Berthiaume.