ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Tuesday’s shooting at Auburn High School drew quick reactions from Rockford schools and the mayor.
Mayor Tom McNamara and RPS 205 Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarret spoke out against the violence during a news conference. Jarrett called the shooting a somber occasion for the school district, and that additional security measures will be put into place at the school in the coming days.
“The rate of violence in our community right now is not acceptable, if it’s in our streets, if it’s in our homes, or if it’s on school campuses,” McNamara said. “Our kids shouldn’t be going into into schools, or into streets, or anywhere in our community worrying about their safety and not their studies. We need to create that environment. That’s on me, that’s on the superintendent, the chief, but it’s also on our entire community.”
Several parents said that they were worried for their children’s safety while the lockdown was in effect at the school, and that the lack of information about what exactly was happening kept them on edge.
“I certainly feel the concern, the frustration, the fear that you may have,” McNamara said. “But understand this incident, by and large the incidents that are taking place, are targeted incidents. I feel safe sending my child to Rockford Public Schools.”
Jarrett said that, while he understood why parents were frustrated, the district is limited on what they can share about ongoing incidents. He said that the school’s focus right now is preventing any further incidents.
“You’re going to see a very serious and vigilant presence of safety and security protocols here at Auburn High School, to make sure the short-term issues are addressed, while we can continue to deal with the long-term,” Jarrett said. “But this is not okay in our community, and it is not okay in our public schools.”
Additional social workers will also be on-hand over the next several days in case any students or faculty members want to talk to a professional about the shooting, according to Jarrett.
“We really want to encourage our faculty, staff, and students to all be part of healing from what is a very traumatic event,” Jarrett said.
McNamara said that the City of Rockford is committed to partnering with the school district on crime intervention programs.