Just one day after a student was killed and another one wounded as a result of a school shooting in Arlington, another shooting occurred at a campus in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD).
As previously reported in The Dallas Express, a student was shot in the arm in the campus parking lot between Thomas Jefferson High School and Walnut Hill International Leadership Academy just minutes after school let out for the day.
At a press conference on Wednesday at Thomas Jefferson High, Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde and Principal Benjamin Jones fielded questions from reporters about the shooting that occurred Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot just outside the building.
Classes were canceled at both schools to allow staff to access on-site mental health resources.
“Quite simply, not just as a superintendent, but as a mom, this is your absolute worst nightmare,” said Elizalde.
She suggested the student was shot at from a vehicle with two individuals inside, one of whom she confirmed was also a student.
“We all know that violence is up in our Dallas community … We can’t contribute to the normalizing of guns in our communities, and if we held school today as usual I feel that we would be contributing to that normalization,” Elizalde said.
Both Dallas schools are in City Council Member Gay Donnell Willis’ District 13, where aggravated assaults are up by roughly 38% year-to-date, according to the City of Dallas Open Data crime analytics dashboard.
District 13 is not the only part of town suffering an increase in violent crime. Citywide, Dallas is seeing a nearly 10% increase in aggravated assaults and a more than 20% increase in murders, per a report by the Dallas Police Department.
While Elizalde noted that no firearm made it into either school building, she acknowledged that the district needed to reflect on how their parking lots were vulnerable. She said there would be an increased police presence at both campuses for at least the rest of the week.
This is not the first gun-related incident to transpire on a DISD campus in recent memory. As previously reported in The Dallas Express, a gun was discharged at John Carpenter Elementary School just last October. Luckily, no one was hurt, and the school day proceeded uninterrupted.
Still, it is unclear whether the district’s school board will move to enhance security measures or experiment with new technologies that other school systems are starting to lean on as the anniversary of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde last May approaches.
Such uncertainties about student safety likely contributed to the results of a recent poll that found residents within DISD feel the district suffers from mismanagement.
Principal Jones spoke after Elizalde and gave an emotional address, spotlighting the three dedicated educators who heroically came to the aid of the student who was shot, which included the school’s athletic director, band director, and assistant athletic coordinator.
“After these situations, you’d expect that maybe some people won’t feel like coming in to work the next day,” Jones said, but he noted that 100% of staff who were not already scheduled off or out of town showed up to work Wednesday.
Jones said that out of respect for the privacy of the victim and their family, there would not be any information disclosed as to their condition.
Elizalde noted that the DISD Police Department is handling the investigation, adding that there is at least one identified suspect but that no arrest had been made yet as of Wednesday afternoon.