Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow comments on school safety:

I recently attended a public event and was reminded of the role I filled for many Corsicana children during my years with the Corsicana Independent School District. I was greeted by two young men who called me “Coach Mayor.” Even though I no longer have a connection with the District, the excitement of a new school year and new coaching season never leaves me. As I think about the new school year I want to share some alarming statistics as a reminder for citizens to work together for the safety of our children. Fifty-one percent of all incidents of violence and threats against schools took place in just ten states during the 2017-18 school year, according to a report published in USA Today in August. Texas is among the ten “states of concern” which accounted for 1,851 threats of violence out of 3,654 nationwide, according to the Educator’s School Safety Network. Since the shooting incident at Columbine High School, more than 135,000 students have lived through school shootings. Teens and children in 164 schools nationwide have been exposed to gun violence. Surveys from The National Center for Education Statistics in 2015 revealed that approximately 37 out of 1,000 students age 12 to 18 experienced violent victimization in school. A telling statistic is that about 10% of students in Texas said they felt unsafe and skipped school at least once within 30 days before the survey. Incidents of violence have been shown to negatively affect attendance rates, graduation rates, academic performance and overall perceptions of safety. It is worth noting, however, that despite these alarming statistics, schools remain very safe spaces for children, with deaths at schools accounting for less than one percent of all deaths among children ages 5 to 18 in the United States. Corsicana ISD announced this week that they have hit a record breaking enrollment of more than 6,000 students attending nine campuses across the district. This is wonderful news for Corsicana and a huge responsibility for our community. Many local departments and enforcement agencies such as the Corsicana Chief of Police, Fire Chief, Navarro County Office of Emergency Management, Navarro County Sheriff, Office of Public Safety, CISD Police, and CISD Superintendent are strategically focused on student safety and have been working closely together to ensure safety plans and protocols throughout the community and school district. I commend their efforts and want to be sure our community continues to be vigilant in their awareness, support and reporting efforts to keep student safety a priority in Corsicana. It takes all of us working together to keep our children safe. Safety at school starts at home. We cannot expect our teachers, coaches, school administrators and public safety officers to keep our children safe if parents are sending them to school with tools to harm fellow students. As simple as this sounds, it is important to remember to be involved in every aspect of a child’s school day. Ask questions to find out how things go at school each day, what they did with their friends, who made an impression on them (positively and negatively) and how they are feeling. All too often we read about an incident involving violence at school and the media reports past concerns or fellow students say they were afraid of the student. Our children have a keen sense of situations and can help all of us create a safe environment. Because the average juvenile spends about half the time they are awake in educational environments, it is essential to ensure that they do not fear for their well-being while at school or in extra-curricular activities. We are all responsible for this sense of safety and connection to the community. Please give your child’s teachers the support they need by being aware of your child’s concerns and reporting those concerns to school officials. Know what your child is taking with them to school and why. By doing so, we will all have the enjoyment of seeing young people become productive members of society when they remind us of the roles we played during their school years.

Mayor Don Denbow
City of Corsicana

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