Plano ISD Wears Maroon to Welcome Uvalde Students’ Return to School


Rishi Karuturi

Students in Mr. Carroll’s class wear maroon to support Uvalde students.

Nearly five months after the Robb Elementary School shooting, students in Plano ISD wore maroon to support the return of the Uvalde students on Monday, September 5, 2022.

On May 24, 2022, at around 11:30 am, the students at Robb Elementary were put under an unofficial lockdown after a gunman was seen near their school carrying an AR-15-style rifle. The 18-year-old gunman fatally shot 19 children and 2 teachers.

Such a tragedy rekindled national attention on public school safety. School districts around the country and especially in the state of Texas re-evaluated their safety policies for the 2022-2023 school year as students returned to school.

Plano ISD has enforced identification badges for students to wear around their necks throughout the entire school day. Badges are required for students to enter different buildings after the passing period has ended, and badge checks during class were re-instituted as well.

Some students are less than convinced that the badge rule will really help with campus security.

“These badges aren’t enforced correctly,” Brianna Ibiloye-Turner, senior, said. “I’ve never had anybody look at my badge and make sure it’s me. I’ve only had people see if I’m wearing a Plano West lanyard.”

Ilbiloye-Turner believes school security is part of a larger national issue, rather than something individual school policies can completely fix.

Kelly Stimson, senior, acknowledges the effort that is put into ensuring that badges are worn, so that staff can properly identify students. Stimson’s concern about badges comes from the problem of maintaining consistency rather than the enforcement.

“I notice every year teachers become more lenient as the weeks go by, letting students not wear their badge, or not closing their doors. I think it’d be better if they can stick with these rules, creating a safe campus space,” Stimson said.

Other students don’t mind wearing their badges. Jordyn Waters, the Co-President of the Women of Color Alliance, believes that the mandatory badges hold significance in identifying students correctly.

“No, I don’t mind wearing my badge at all throughout the day,” Waters said. “I think the badges are a smart way to keep up with all the students and ensure that we’re West students on campus.”

Behind this nationwide emergency, teachers point out that the complex causes behind the rapid increase in school shootings also demand local action. 

“It was a real shock during the Columbine shooting in 1999; a threat like never before,” said Mr. Douglas Daracott, art and comparative government teacher. “The reality is that we have gotten used to [school violence].  I think mental health is a critical issue.”

As a response to the need for additional mental health resources, school counselors are providing crisis support for students along with academic planning.

While the shooting in Uvalde leaves a permanent scar in the hearts of West students and faculty, we must take diverse and effective efforts to tackle school safety at a local level. 

“It’s hard; teachers are not trained psychologists,” Mr. Daracott said. “But we all have to come together, no matter how complex the issue is.”