Texas elementary school shooting renews emphasis on school safety

Officer Croft swipes his key card to enter the front doors of the building. In his office, Croft kept an eye on the hallways and entrances around the school.

Anna Knepley

Officer Croft swipes his key card to enter the front doors of the building. In his office, Croft kept an eye on the hallways and entrances around the school.

Anna Knepley, Co Editor-in-Chief

After Texas’s deadliest school shooting in modern history, public outcry for stricter gun control has become more prevalent. Many public figures are sharing their opinions in the media, along with local personnel. 

President Joe Biden gave a short speech following the tragedy, calling for elected officials to take action and do more to prevent future massacres. He emphasized how mass shootings like this one rarely happen in other countries, even though these other countries have similar mental health issues and domestic disputes.  

“Why are we willing to live with this carnage?” Biden said. “Why do we keep letting this happen?”  

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas also updated the rest of the country on what is being done to help the families impacted and investigate the beginnings of the situation. The state of Texas has provided mental health resources to the Uvalde community, along with an evaluation into how to make schools safer. Abbott added that there is an ongoing investigation led by the DPS Texas Rangers and Uvalde Police Department, supported by the FBI and other local law enforcement agencies. 

As more information is released to the media, Robb Elementary School parents and other community members have expressed outrage at the time it took law enforcement officers to breach the school door and take down the shooter. He entered the school at 11:33 a.m. and was killed by police at 12:50 p.m., according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, while heavily armed police and border patrol officers kept crowds of parents out, worrying these parents that nothing was being done to help their children. 


As a community, we are responsible for each other’s safety,”

— Officer Croft

After the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, law enforcement active shooter training changed dramatically. During Columbine, police waited for SWAT officers to arrive before going after the gunmen, allowing over a dozen loss of lives. Now, police are trained to rush the shooter in order to stop them from advancing. Parents of children at Robb Elementary School have criticized the responding officers for not following this active shooter training and instead waiting for armored border patrol officers to arrive.  

However, Officer Rich Croft, Hereford’s school resource officer, has stated that the protocol does not apply to the shooter when they are no longer firing. An active shooter is no longer active the second they stop shooting, which means responding officers stop advancing. 

There was not a school resource officer present on campus when the shooter gained entry to the school, which was one of the main reasons the situation continued for so long. A school resource officer (SRO) is a trained law enforcement officer who works in an elementary, middle, or high school, assisting administration in maintaining a safe and secure environment. According to Texas School Safety Center, SROs in Texas can be assigned to multiple school campuses and therefore cannot be in every school at all times. 

Hereford High’s permanently assigned SRO, Croft, emphasizes the importance of keeping all doors into the school shut and locked, in order to prevent a similar tragedy. 

“Student and staff safety starts with the security of the building,” Croft said. 

For security, he has a key to every door in the building, which would allow him to access any room, if necessary, unlike the officers at Robb Elementary School who had to wait for a janitor with key copies. Along with police/law enforcement officers in the surrounding area, Croft also carries a key card that enables entry to the building at any time without the need for a physical key, as another safety measure. 

Many important conversations regarding school safety, gun control and active shooter training have stemmed from the Texas shooting, with government officials and law enforcement officers working together to make sure something like it does not happen again. 

“As a community, we are responsible for each other’s safety,” Croft said.  

Remember to close the outside building doors and not prop them open, so that Hereford High can stay safe and secure.