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Statement from the Board of Education regarding Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas

In the last few days, we have shared feelings of intense grief and mourning with countless community members, school staff and students over the horrible tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas. 

In Buffalo, our neighbor Andre Mackneil was killed while shopping for a birthday cake for his 3-year-old son. Our board member Dr. Rhoda Overstreet-Wilson is among so many family members in Auburn who grieve his loss. His loss is also felt by those he touched through refereeing youth sports and with whom he shared his warm smile.

On Tuesday, in a town similar in size to our own city, 19 students and 2 adults were killed in another senseless act of premeditated gun violence. These children, mostly fourth graders, were just days away from the end of their school year. Their teachers died laying down their lives trying to save as many students as they could.

In the weeks prior to these events, Board member Danielle Wood submitted her May 25th column, explaining in detail our capital project, which was focused on making our elementary buildings more secure so that an intruder would not be able to access our students and staff. That it ran on the day after the events in Uvalde was a grim coincidence. We also have a close partnership with the Auburn Police Department, with School Resource Officers and Security Monitors in every building. These actions and steps to ensure a safe learning environment are ongoing and under constant review; the capital project is just one piece of that effort. Unfortunately, the possibility of these tragic events has been on the minds of leadership in our district for many years.

That our district and districts like ours across the country have had to put plans in place for these tragedies is not normal. It is not normal for our students to have to think about these things and participate in lockdown drills. It is not normal for parents to feel fear when dropping off their children in the days after yet another act of gun violence in a school. It is not normal for our staff to have to talk to their own children about laying down their lives for their students.

No other nation has accepted as normal the routine murder of school children. Neither do we. 

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 experiencing a crisis please visit nyprojecthope.org or call 1-844-863-9314, 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-children-cope-with-violence-and-scary-news  Our district now has school psychologists in every one of our schools and has partnered with professionals with Cayuga Counseling to serve our schools and community.

Board of Education
Auburn Enlarged City School District

Superintendent: Jeffrey Pirozzolo
Phone: 315.255.8800
Address: 78 Thornton Avenue | Auburn, NY 13021
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