Many of the families at an El Paso Walmart on Saturday were shopping for school supplies. Kids in El Paso ISD will be going back to school next Monday. Now, the usual back-to-school jitters and excitement will likely be replaced by a different kind of anxiety for many students and staff members – anxiety that stems from the trauma left by the last weekend’s shooting.
El Paso ISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera wrote an open letter to teachers encouraging them to show strength through these hard times. He says no El Paso ISD students or staff were directly affected by the shooting. But some staff members’ relatives were injured, and a few student families were impacted.
“We are now triaging our counseling services [and] support services to deal with the children and the adults that were impacted when their family members were injured,” Cabrera says.
Five EPISD campuses are located within a mile of the shooting site, Cabrera says. School district employees frequent the shopping area.
School district staff members are reacting in different ways to the shooting, Cabrera says. Some want to move forward and focus on healing and positive approaches. Others need time to mourn.
“We’re actually trying to have some flexibility for the way a person wants to grieve and handle the situation,” he says.
Cabrera says parents should talk with their children about safety and security.
“As much as we like to think we’re shielding our children from that, today, we can’t,” Cabrera says. “It’s now become too frequent.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.
An earlier version of this story indicated that the shooting occurred during a state tax-free weekend. August 9-11 is tax-free weekend across Texas. School supplies and other selected items can be purchased without tax on those dates.