School Violence and School Safety

Edison Elementary School--AUSD Superintendent wrote an editorial in response to the tragic events in Uvalde, Tex. last week and to inform students and parents of the measure AUSD is taking to ensure student safety.

School Violence and School Safety

[Last Tuesday’s] shooting in Uvalde, Texas has now claimed the lives of [19 children and two teachers.] These lost lives, like many others before them, are now part of the recurrent nightmare gun violence continues to exact on communities across our country, and on some of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society, often in school settings.

It feels insufficient to offer words to those grieving and impacted tonight, as no written sentiment, however well-intended, can match the incalculable grief of those who will not see their children or family members come home tonight.

And we know it’s not just Texas. Within the last 10 days, there have been stunning acts of hate and deadly violence in Buffalo and southern California, and no doubt there have been numerous other gun-related fatalities that garner fewer headlines here in our own backyards. Headlines blaring news of gun violence have become the norm, but we can’t ever accept that as the norm.

Talking to our kids about these topics can be very challenging. If you would like some support, we have linked to a small collection of what we hope are useful readings and resources on this difficult topic.

Please know that each of our schools have safety plans in place for a wide range of scenarios, and our staff and students practice these plans regularly. If you have questions about your school’s safety plans, reach out to your principal.

For a summary of our district-wide safety and emergency procedures, visit If you have questions about district-level emergency protocols and procedures, contact Assistant Superintendent Kirsten Zazo at Zazo oversees campus safety at the district level.

We will also be connecting and conferring with city first responders to review inter-agency cooperation and response planning for a variety of safety and emergency scenarios.

Internally, our team will continue to work on school-based safety protocols and emergency responses, while also supporting students who may be distressed by the latest wave of violence to which they have been exposed. Externally, we will continue to advocate with local and national legislators in support of actions and policies that ensure greater degrees of safety for all students in all schools.

As educators and parents, we take news of school shootings very seriously, and we know how concerning these types of incidents can be to students, staff, and families. If you think your child needs extra support this week — or if you hear of another student needing support — have them reach out to a counselor or principal at their school. They are prepared for and committed to helping their communities process the many emotions that can come up when tragic and horrific events like these arise.

Pasquale Scuderi is the superintendent of the Alameda Unified School District.

Editor's Note: This op-ed was originally published in the Alameda Unified School District newsletter.