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Our Reponse to the Uvalde Tragedy

Our Reponse to the Uvalde Tragedy

In the days following the tragedy that struck Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller shares these words with the Lakota community.


Dear Lakota Families, 

It is heart wrenching to see the continued loss of life at our schools across the nation. The devastation that struck the Uvalde community this past Tuesday is nothing that any community, anywhere, should have to face. We cannot begin to imagine the grief that the victims’ families, friends and loved ones are feeling. 

When your work is in education and taking care of kids, national tragedies like this strike especially hard and make us re-examine our own safety protocols and procedures. This is an ongoing routine, of course, and while our protocols are always evolving, incidents like this one at Robb Elementary cause us to pause. They make us look even more critically at our safety measures and act on the lessons that fall out of them.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The safety and security of our students and staff is always our top priority. It is why we work alongside experts at the Butler County Sheriff’s Department, the West Chester Police Department, and other safety and security organizations. They play an active role on our district’s Safety & Security Committee and are valuable advisors as we make decisions for the safety of our school community. 

To that end, while we have a School Resource Officer assigned to every campus, we have already begun discussions about whether or not that coverage is enough, particularly at our main high school campuses that have large numbers of  students. Furthermore, Chief Operating Officer Chris Passarge and his team have already begun updating our visitor management system, which requires a background check of anyone who enters our doors during the school day. 

I’m positive that we will discuss further safety measures and lessons learned from yesterday’s tragedy. This includes our ongoing work on Lakota’s Master Facilities Plan, which will inevitably include upgrades to our infrastructure in the way of safety and security. I’m thankful that the Board of Education and our community made additional safety considerations a priority back in 2013. It’s time to see what more we can do through our facilities planning. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the mental health supports we have and continue to build upon for students and staff at Lakota. Programming and staffing to support social and emotional learning will continue to be a priority to help equip our kids learn how to navigate their emotions and respond in a safe and healthy manner.

The safety measures we have in place in our schools are critically important, but only one piece to the puzzle. We desperately need to put politics aside and work on legislation that minimizes the opportunity for tragedy to repeatedly happen. I urge you to share this message with our state and national lawmakers, who are a big part of the solution. 

For our parents, in particular, I know many of you are struggling to explain this inexplicable tragedy to your children. Not surprisingly, moments like these raise significant questions, fears and doubts in their minds, regardless of whether or not school is in session. One resource you might find helpful to navigate these difficult conversations is this article from Cincinnati Children’s titled “Tips for Talking to Kids About Violence in the News.” 

I know the level of trust you put in our schools and our staff to care for your children each and every day. Please know that we take that responsibility very seriously and are working every day to make our schools a safe space for all. May the lives lost in Uvalde serve as a reminder of how critically important this part of our daily work is. 


Matthew Miller