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Seguin ISD takes steps toward improving school safety through new community task force

The Uvalde mass shooting prompted the need for the district of 7,000 students to form a 30-member task force to review and enhance security and safety.

SEGUIN, Texas — While summer break is underway, Seguin Independent School District is working to assemble a school safety task force, four weeks after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde. 

Superintendent Dr. Matthew Gutierrez led introductions during two public sessions Thursday at Seguin High School's Performing Arts Center, explaining before dozens of community members how the task force plans to address safety concerns in the school district of 7,000 students.

 “As a superintendent, this weighs heavily on me every single day. In the days following Uvalde, I was not able to sleep and still lose sleep,” Gutierrez said. 

More than 150 people initially responded to the superintendent’s call for a short-term panel that focused on enhancing safety and security for students and staff districtwide while considering adoption of new measures based on community input.

The eventual 30-member task force will review the district’s current safety protocols and provide feedback on what areas should be improved. 

“We want to make sure most importantly that our parents feel safe because they’re trusting us with their most prized possessions, their children,” Gutierrez said. 

The prospect of arming teachers through the Guardian program is not off the table of discussion.

“People feel that their children might be more secure if there were staff members who were armed. I think that’s something we’re discussing. I don’t think that’s the magic answer,” Gutierrez said. 

One of the parents who attended Thursday’s meeting was Josh Bright, a father of three who has come close to losing one of his children in an accident. He can’t fathom learning about the death of his own child in a senseless shooting like in Uvalde. That’s why Bright and his wife are committed to becoming members of Seguin ISD’s safety task force, which will make recommendations to the district’s board of trustees. 

“It keeps you up at night thinking about what could happen,” Bright said. “Actually losing a child as close as we came, it still haunts me when that accident happened.” “I will be at every single meeting. I think Seguin ISD has done a – is doing a fantastic job for the safety of our kids and trying to be as proactive as they can.”

Since 2017, Seguin ISD has added 12 mental health counselors to offer wrap-around services to students in an overall effort to ensure student safety. But Gutierrez noted more funding is needed to help sustain such services. 

"What I'm hoping will come out of this next legislative session, because we've heard the governor talk a lot about mental health, is additional funding coming our way to be able to ensure that we can continue to fund these important employees and be able to do more."


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