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Police presence was increased Wednesday, May 25, on campuses in both the Burnet and Marble Falls school districts, a day after 19 students and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old gunman, who was later shot dead by a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

Also on Tuesday, Marble Falls Independent School District campuses were put on lockdown because of an “active shooter” reported in downtown Marble Falls. The high school let out early and was not involved, but the middle school and Marble Falls Elementary School were on voluntary lockdown. After 30 minutes, the lockdowns were lifted and Marble Falls Police Department called the report of gunfire “unfounded.”

The shooting that had everyone on edge occurred Tuesday, May 24, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, just 80 miles west of San Antonio. It is the deadliest school shooting in Texas and the second deadliest in the nation since a lone gunman killed 21 students and six teachers on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Both local district superintendents, Chris Allen of Marble Falls and Keith McBurnett of Burnet, discussed safety measures taken on campuses with DailyTrib.com and assured parents and students that they are safe at school. Wednesday is the last day of the 2021-22 school year for Burnet Consolidated ISD. Marble Falls ISD campuses will let out on Thursday, May 26.

“For all the tragedies that have occurred, school is still one of the safest places to be,” Allen said. “At times, that rings hollow, but look at the number of students who go to school every day and how many of them get to school and go home safe.” 

Marble Falls ISD is a Texas School Guardian Program district, which means a small number of teachers on each campus is armed. 

“We have had that for a while,” Allen said. “There are ways that we interact and disperse those people to provide an additional layer of support to provide a safe environment.” 

“Internal procedures” also have “been brought into play” for Wednesday and Thursday, Allen continued. 

“I’m not going into detail about those,” he said “That’s what makes them work.” 

Counselors are also available in these last days of school for MFISD students and teachers. Several teachers have connections to the Uvalde school district and have sought counseling support, he said. 

Burnet Consolidated ISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett sent out a district-wide email assuring parents that their kids are safe on campus and explaining all of the procedures that schools have in place year-round. 

“We did have an increased police presence this morning,” McBurnett told DailyTrib.com. “Like we do each summer, we will meet as an administrative team and with first responders to review our school safety plan and make adjustments as needed.” 

BCISD works with the Burnet and Bertram police departments in developing an Emergency Operations Plan as outlined by the Texas School Safety Center. School resource officers are located on each BCISD campus, all of which use the Raptor Visitor Management System for visitor check-in and screening. Part of the 2021 bond approved by voters will be used to upgrade campus security. 

“My commitment to you is that we will continue, as always, to have discussions about how to make our campuses as safe as possible,” McBurnett wrote in his email to parents. “Crafting the future starts with making sure our students and staff are safe and we all play a role in making that a reality.”

Both superintendents expressed anguish over Tuesday’s tragedy. 

“The recent mass shooting at Uvalde ISD is heartbreaking,” McBurnett said. 

“God bless the people of Uvalde,” Allen said. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that both elementary schools in Marble Falls were put on lockdown. Only one, Marble Falls Elementary School, was on lockdown. Colt was not.

suzanne@thepicayune.com