AUSTIN (KXAN) — Only a few days after Tuesday’s tragedy in Uvalde, several schools within the Austin Independent School District hosted graduation ceremonies on Friday.
As hundreds of seniors walked across the stage at the AISD Performing Arts Center, some parents, like Lisa Martin, were reminded of the 19 children and two teachers who lost their lives in Uvalde.
“Those parents won’t be able to see their children graduate,” she said. “Today is a very somber moment.”
Both graduation ceremonies — Northeast Early College High and Lyndon B. Johnson High — had a noteworthy police presence on hand.
“It was actually very comforting to see law enforcement all around the auditorium,” Martin said. “On the outside and the inside.”
On Thursday, AISD confirmed to KXAN that some of its police staff positions will be cut as part of the upcoming budget changes.
Although no active patrol officers were cut, 15 previously vacant positions were eliminated for the 2022-2023 school year.
Julia Favors was in attendance today for her youngest daughter’s graduation from LBJ ECHS.
Looking ahead to the fall, she’s quite concerned about the possibility of a lack of security coverage on campus.
“They need policemen in their school no matter what goes on in this school district,” Favors said.
In southeast Austin, Stephanie Suarez is the mother of three kids who attend an Austin ISD elementary school.
Suarez has several safety concerns about the aging campus, which was constructed in 1970s.
“It almost makes me not want to send my kids to school,” she said. “I may figure out another resource another alternative method of educating my kids.”
Although AISD has dedicated school resource officers at every high school and middle school, elementary schools do not.
Instead, patrol officers check in on those schools.
With this in mind, Suarez is pleading for change.
“Not just an email saying things are going to happen, I want things to actually happen to protect our kids, she concluded.
AISD said 76 sworn officers will be serving with its police department. They say night patrol officers will be assigned to campuses or daytime patrols.
The priority will be on coverage during school hours.