HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) was part of a roundtable discussion Thursday with Hays CISD leaders and law enforcement to discuss the dangers of fentanyl.

“I’m eager to learn more about what’s happening right here in Hays County,” Senator Cornyn said.

Also, a part of the discussion was comments from parents who lost their children to the lethal drug. This school year alone, five Hays CISD students died from fentanyl.

“I relive that moment every day,” said Shannon McConville. Her son Kevin was one of the students that passed away.

What do parents want changed?

Parents told the senator they want more availability of rehabilitation centers in the county, but that their main concern at the moment is the flow of drugs into the country.

It’s something Cornyn agrees is a priority.

“We know it’s going to be more better technology, physical infrastructure, more boots on the ground,” Cornyn said. “We need to stop the drugs, and we need to secure the border. That’s the message I’m going to take back with me.”

Janel Rodriguez and Brandon Dunn said they’re leaving the conversation with a hopeful yet heavy heart.

It comes on a day Johnson High retired the football jersey for their son Noah.

“Overwhelming and emotional,” Rodriguez said.

Janel Rodriguez and Brandon Dunn hold their son Noah's retired jersey
Rodriguez and Dunn said they plan on framing Noah’s jerseys in their home. (Photo: KXAN’s Sarah Al-Shaikh)

They said they’ll continue being a part of these discussions in the hopes it saves even one life.

“We just have to hope that these messages get carried back and talked about in a meaningful way,” said Dunn.

What fentanyl legislation is in the works?

Cornyn said he’s currently drafting up legislation to address the fentanyl crisis. It’s called the Fentanyl RESPONSE Act.

He said it would provide additional training for local law enforcement agencies on drug overdoses and also get more Narcan in the hands of first responders.

What has Hays CISD done to address the crisis?

Hays CISD launched its fighting fentanyl campaign as a response to its students dying. The district released a series of videos detailing the dangers of the drug.

Some of the episodes focus on highlighting the stories of the Hays CISD families who’ve lost a loved one to fentanyl. The district shows the videos to its students, but there is an option to opt out.