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"There is no greater tragedy than an untimely death at the hands of a criminal."

An act of tragedy leaves an eternal mark on the communities it touches. In Uvalde, Texas, anguished grief and untold trauma follow the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. During an unspeakable act of evil last May, 19 children and 2 teachers were abruptly and violently taken from this world.

As we reflect on this tragic event, it becomes apparent that this murderous rampage represents a grave failure to protect our most vulnerable citizens. This should never happen. 

This month's investigation sheds light on the harrowing events. Communication gaps between government agencies have been revealed, as well as a lack of concise threat assessment strategies.

In our state, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has a Center for Safer Schools that implements emergency preparedness across pre-K-12 schools. But as of 2022, just 5% of schools under DPI's purview -- 2,363 schools -- had submitted actionable plans to handle emergency plans according to reports.

This gap in our defense against potential threats to children and educators is unacceptable, and I find it deeply troubling. Our public schools educate and care for 1.5 million kids and 117,000 teachers.

Safety must be priority one.

As Superintendent of Public Instruction, I'll wage a determined campaign to close loopholes at the Center for Safer Schools. Together with law enforcement, security professionals, first responders, legislators, and school administrators, we will shield students and staff from danger.

Our schools must be transformed into the safest buildings in our state, bar none.

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