The flags at all Bayonne schools are flying at half mast in memory of the victims of the tragic events of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, May 24 that has so far left 19 students and two teachers dead.
According to Superintendent of Schools John Niesz, the district is also increasing security in the wake of the shooting.
“We also want to make you aware that you may notice an increase in security officers and Bayonne Police Officers in the area of our schools,” Niesz said.
Niesz emphasized the measures were preventative, and that there is no threat to the community. This follows a bomb threat to Bayonne High School this week, and a student bringing a toy gun to the high school the week prior.
“There is NO threat to the Bayonne School Community,” Niesz said. “The Bayonne Police Department and our security department are here to help us maintain the safety and security of our students. Additionally, we thank the Bayonne Police Department for working alongside our security team to protect our staff and students.”
According to Niesz, counseling is available to students who need it.
“If any student or parent would like to speak to a counselor, please know our counselors are available to help all those who need it through these difficult times,” Niesz said.
Off-duty police called to protect community
In the wake of the Uvalde shooting, Mayor James Davis has encouraged off-duty law police officers to volunteer their time and protect a Bayonne school in their neighborhood during the morning arrival and afternoon departure periods for the remainder of the 2021 to 2022 school year.
“In light of the tragedy that occurred in Uvalde, Texas, the Bayonne community needs reassuring that our schools are safe,” Davis said. “We must do everything we can to protect our most valued treasures, our children. They deserve to attend class without the fear of danger and our parents need to know that we will do everything to protect our children.”
Davis, a retired police captain himself, said that he would join in this added safety measure: “I am asking any off-duty police officer who lives in Bayonne to volunteer their time to stand at your neighborhood school during the morning arrivals and afternoon dismissals for the remainder of the school year. As a former police captain and father, I too, will stand at our schools and help to reassure that our classrooms remain safe places to learn. Thank you for your consideration.”
Speaking on the topic of shootings at schools across the United States, Davis continued: “It’s completely out of control. If we can’t protect our children, then we have failed as a society.”
Also in response to the Texas school shooting, New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin said that he met with law enforcement officials to ensure coordination to increase presence at schools across the state.
“Nothing about this is normal,” Platkin said in a statement. “We do not have to accept that we live in a country where children are shot just for going to school. My heart goes out to the families of the victims, and we must all do everything we can to end the epidemic of gun violence.”
Platkin continued: “Our students, their families and caregivers, teachers, and school administrators should feel safe in school, and can be assured that New Jersey’s law enforcement agencies will do everything in their power to protect them.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.