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Holyoke mayor to go school-to-school to evaluate safety measures

Holyoke mayor to go school-to-school to evaluate safety measures
Updated: May. 26, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia is taking action to make sure safety measures are in place at every school in the city in response to what happened in Texas.

“It’s hard to imagine, breaks my heart,” Garcia said.

Garcia, a father of 10-year-old twins, reacted Thursday to the heartbreaking news out of Texas, where an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at an elementary school on Tuesday.

“You hear that news and I can’t imagine…working...just a parent…getting that call, knowing that someone walked into your school and killed your children,” Garcia added.

Garcia is now taking action in his city. Starting next week, in collaboration with Holyoke Public School Superintendent and Receiver Anthony Soto, he will be visiting every school in Holyoke - public, private, charter, and Catholic - to better understand the safety measures in place.

“I’m in a position right now, and Superintendent Soto, to do what we can to be sure that we ensuring the safety of our children, staff, and teachers,” Garcia noted.

Garcia told Western Mass News that he was recently debriefed on some of the school security protocols. He said each school has a crisis coordinator, who meets on a monthly basis with local and state authorities to discuss the best possible safety measures. It’s a conversation he hopes to join.

“What I want to understand: how those collaborations work, what discussions have been made, what are some of the strategies being implemented,” Garcia said.

In addition, he plans to dig deeper into whether the city should have more school resource officers at schools.

“I do see a lot of benefits and a lot of pros to having school resource officers and my heart is completely open to those that challenge it,” Garcia said.

Garcia said the ultimate goal is to have policies in place that would de-escalate and prevent any tragedies from happening.