By Edna Clark
“Don’t get mad! Don’t be afraid! Express yourself”! This was the anti-bullying message that was delivered to Eagle Elementary students on Friday, September 10, by Alex O’Connor and Mascot Chico of the El Paso Chihuahuas baseball team.
O’Connor, Promotions & Community Relations Assistant of the Chihuahuas, and Chico have been visiting area schools to spread the message that bullying is not right and needs to stop. Having and showing respect for everyone is the key to stopping bullying.
Four types of bullying: verbal, physical, social, and cyber were demonstrated to the students by Teachers Yolanda Urias and Gracie Fuentes. Students were encouraged to tell an adult if they felt that they were being bullied or if they saw or heard someone else being bullied. Hence, the message of Don’t get Mad; Don’t be afraid; and Express yourself, was explained. Students took a pledge to not be bullies and to help stop bullying of others.
Ironically, this program took place one day after allegations of bullying against a 14 year old female student at Alpine High School were made. The student brought a gun to school and opened fire in a restroom injuring another female student before turning the gun on herself. According to CBS7 in Midland, friends of the shooter reported that a group of girls had been bullying the young lady. Allegedly, the group told her that she should just kill herself because she wasn’t any good.
Alpine ISD Superintendent, Becky Watley, told CBS7 that the district’s internal investigation was ongoing and that no evidence of the bullying had been brought up at that time.
In the midst of the shooting at Alpine High School, an unknown person called 911 and posted bomb threats across Alpine. Sul Ross State University was evacuated, and the hospital was put on alert after those facilities were threatened.
In response to the reports of an active shooter at Alpine High School, a possible second shooter at large, and bomb threats, Culberson County Sheriff Oscar Carrillo increased law enforcement patrols in and around CCAISD schools and on Hwy 90. On Sheriff Carrillo’s Facebook page, he stated more marked units would patrol around the school campuses for student and employee safety. He added that 16 additional officers were on hand that day in training at the high school, ready to assist with any incident here in relation to what happened in Alpine.
Sheriff Carrillo and CCAISD administration work closely together to provide a safe learning place for students. Additionally, if such an incident occurred in Van Horn, removing students from school would be discouraged as this could add more danger to an already dangerous situation.
Reporting from KVIA ABC7 in El Paso on Wednesday morning claimed that the shooter intended to kill her stepbrother as well.
We at The Van Horn Advocate offer our sincere condolences and prayers for our sister city of Alpine, Alpine ISD, and the families and friends during this time of grief, pain and confusion.