DORAL, Fla. – Tanya Carton was among the parents who dropped off their children at school Wednesday with a bit of apprehension. She is from Texas, so she wore a T-shirt to show her solidarity.
Carton was at Dr. Toni Bilbao Preparatory Academy in Doral, where the U.S. flag was flown at half-staff in memory of the 19 Robb Elementary School fourth-grade students in Uvalde.
Some parents worried about whether or not their kids’ schools had enough security to keep a shooter like Salvador Ramos away. Carton reasoned her son was safe.
“To enter the school, like you can only enter a small room, and on top of having a police force, we also have a security team as well,” Carton said.
Jose L. Dotres, the Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, said he understands the parents’ fears. He is the father of a 15-year-old student. He told reporters the district is one of the few in the country with a “self-contained” police force.
Edwin Lopez is the chief of The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department. He said the department’s command center has more than 18,000 live camera feeds under surveillance and more modern tech. They also have regular active-shooter training.
“Officers are equipt with the necessary skill sets ... We have a robust metal detection program. We have a robust K-9 unit with the ability to detect bombs and explosives, narcotics, firearms,” Lopez said.
The district wants parents to know officers are on guard at schools, school administrators and teachers also receive active shooter training, doors are locked, and visitors are screened. Lopez asked parents to monitor their children’s use of social media.
Investigators believe Ramos, a Uvalde High School student who turned 18 years old on May 16, used social media to share photos of weapons and ammunition he bought legally. About 30 minutes before the shooting, he wrote about his intentions on social media.
Accounts on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are part of the investigation.
The massacre appalled President Joe Biden and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. It also sickened advocates for gun control who lost their children during the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
While standing next to her smiley son, Carton said she felt the grieving families’ pain.
“I am completely shocked and just so sad,” she said.
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