ALICE, Texas — Uvalde is a town of about 16,000; similar in size to communities in the Coastal Bend, like Alice, with a population of about 19,000.
Alice ISD has security measures in place at its campuses daily, like buzzers to get in buildings, metal detectors in all schools, and Alice police officers stationed in the middle and high schools.
“We try to be as prepared as possible. Every campus has an emergency operation plan, and the district has one as well,” said Alice ISD superintendent Dr. Carl Scarbrough.
Following Tuesday’s shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the school district increased security measures at all its schools through the end of the school year, which ends Friday.
“I don’t know if there’s anything you can do to be prepared for what happened there. But, we have to be as vigilant as possible,” Scarbrough said. “It’s just really disturbing for school systems that we have to face these things.”
The Alice PD, the Jim Wells County Sheriff’s Office, and Jim Wells County Constables will all increase patrols in and around the schools in town.
“We want our children to feel safe, we want our parents to know you’re safe in our schools, and we want it to be as it is every day, as smooth as possible. So, that’s what’s important to us at this point in time,” said Alice police chief Eden Garcia.
Garcia said the Alice PD has 34 officers patrolling to ensure the area is safe.
“If it takes all of our officers to be out all day and all night, then that’s what we will do. We will stop at nothing to make sure we ensure the safety of our community,” he said.
As a smaller district in a smaller town, the Alice ISD doesn’t have the same amount of resources available to bigger districts in bigger cities.
But Scarbrough said the district has full support from local law enforcement.
“We have officers at each school, they’ll go in and out, they’ll patrol around. So, there’s a presence parked there, and that includes the sheriff’s department, and Alice PD,” he said. “Our team has the ability to just pick up the phone and communicate right away, instantly, with the Alice Police Department.”
30 miles south of Alice, Premont ISD also increased security measures on campus following Tuesday’s shooting.
Starting Wednesday through the end of the school year on June 2, no outside deliveries or off-campus visitors will be allowed at any of the schools.
“It’s just added security measures, additional protocols. There are other districts in the area doing the same thing,” said Premont ISD assistant superintendent Kristina Gonzalez. “We can guarantee we’re doing everything 100 percent in our power to mitigate anything from happening.”
Gonzalez said the policy will also be in place for summer school.
As part of the ongoing renovations to Premont Collegiate High School, additional security was already planned for the building, including a new security area to enter the building.
Gonzalez said the additional security will be added over the summer as planned, and ready for next school year.
Premont ISD also canceled an application session for Premont Baby University scheduled for Tuesday, ‘out of an abundance of caution.’