MEMPHIS, Tenn.– While the shooting in Texas has left families across the country rattled, some families in Memphis say hearing the news has hit even harder.

Back in September, there was a shooting at Cummings K-8 Elementary School, leaving a 13-year-old boy injured after he was shot by another student.

Thankfully, the teen survived but with Bessie Wadley’s six grandchildren attending the South Memphis school, the scare is still seared in Wadley’s mind. 

She watched the developments in Texas unfold in horror. 

“Flashback. I mean took me right back to that day,” Wadley said. “Of course, it wasn’t as bad, thank God but I mean we’ve lived through the fear of not knowing what was going on with our kids.”

She said all she could think about was the range of emotions families in Texas have when initially learning there was a shooting at the school.

“It’s pure fear and then I tried to go to the school and they won’t allow you, they can’t tell you anything so, fear,” Wadley said. “I always worry now. You always got that in the back of your head, you worry, what’s gonna happen?”

Experts say one of the biggest things moving forward is focusing on people.

Ken Trump with National School Safety and Security Services has worked in his field for more than 30 years. He said while many look to metal detectors or cameras for security, we should also focus on situational awareness.

“Any security technology is only as good as the weakest human link behind it. We have to invest on the people side, the situational awareness, the training, doing our drills, the mental health, and student support prevention services, and that’s what’s really going to make a difference,” Trump said. The question really isn’t whether a shooting in Texas is a wake-up call, the question is will we hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.”

Ms. Wadley said now all she can do is pray for those affected families in Texas.

Memphis Shelby County Schools sent a statement on the Texas shooting Wednesday:

We extend our deepest sympathies and support to the families and staff of Robb Elementary School and the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. Our hearts are with you.

The emotional impact and trauma of a school shooting is far reaching, and we encourage any employee feeling the repercussions to speak up and talk to someone. Be open to sharing and willing to listen.

Safety Investments

Spent during the 2021-22 school year:

  • $300,000+ for new metal detectors
  • $550,000+ to upgrade wiring for intrusion alarm, cameras and card readers
  • $600,000+ for cameras

Pending Board approval:

  • $2.2 million for additional technology and equipment for security system upgrades

Next school year (2022-23):

  • $17 million in ESSER funding earmarked for security technology upgrades, staffing and other equipment for all schools.

Safe School Tips prevent crime and can be sent anonymously two ways.

  1. Online at www.tipsubmit.com (search for Shelby County Schools or click here to go directly to the MSCS page). 
  2. Text “SCS” to 274637. The system will provide a tip code and password. Your submission will be anonymous.