In the days after the Uvalde massacre, North Texas school districts have been on high alert. Some have reported apparent copycat attempts, which have all been thwarted.
On Tuesday, authorities say, an 18-year-old gunman fatally shot 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Salvador Ramos had reportedly purchased two assault rifles for his birthday earlier this month.
The massacre has ignited tensions among partisans and renewed debates surrounding gun control. It’s also prompted pushback on Texas’ lax gun laws and inspired calls for the cancellation of Friday’s National Rifle Association convention in Houston.
Now, days before summer is set to begin for many schoolchildren, some nearby school districts have been fending off potential attacks.
Richardson ISD was alerted to the threat of gun violence on Wednesday when local police arrested a high school student. Officials say they received reports of the student clutching what looked like a rifle, and that he was seen walking toward Berkner High School.
Officers later discovered what they believed was an “AK-47 style pistol,” plus a “replica AR-15 style Orbeez rifle,” in a car associated with the suspect.
Fort Worth ISD
That same day, an officer at W. A. Meacham Middle School in Fort Worth took a gun from a student who’d brought it on campus, WFAA reported. No threats had been made, but the suspect was detained and a search occurred.
In Hudson Oaks, roughly 55 miles west of Dallas, officials notified parents on Wednesday that an adult had threatened an elementary school, according to FOX West Texas. Police began investigating the threat and subsequently arrested the suspect.
On Thursday, police were dispatched to an Arlington elementary school following reports of a shooting. Officials determined that a parent’s gun had accidentally fired and the shot had hit him in the leg.
Schools in other parts of the state are reporting similar occurrences. In East Texas on Tuesday, officers were notified of a social media video showing a Rains ISD student on district property with a firearm. Law enforcement searched a car parked at a high school and recovered a shotgun, ammunition and two handguns.
In South Texas’ Donna ISD, officials announced on Wednesday that school was canceled for the remainder of the week following “a credible threat of violence.”
After the Uvalde shooting, Mesquite ISD Superintendent Ángel Rivera announced that his district’s counselors would be available to help students and staff cope. He also said the district would be more vigilant and alert.
“While we cannot share details of all of the precautions and safety measures we have in place, I want to assure you that our police partners and the individuals who constantly monitor situations that may pose a danger to our students and staff always remain hypersensitive to any potential threat,” he wrote.
It’s frightening and disconcerting that local school districts are having to experience these threats in the wake of what’s happened this week, Rena Honea, president of the Alliance-AFT teachers union, told the Observer.
Even though she’s not opposed to the Second Amendment, Honea pointed out that 18-year-olds can buy such weapons when they aren’t even old enough to legally drink.
“My hope is that people would take a good hard look at this incident happening again, and decide do we ever want to see this again,” she said. “And if not, then they’re going to have to stop being complacent and go to the polls and vote.”