Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent weighs in on school safety

LT. Governor and DPSCD Superintendent are sill reeling from Robb Elementary mass shooting

Parents want to know what are schools doing to keep their children safe. DPSCD shares what they are doing for Detroit students.

DETROIT – Many are still feeling the shockwaves of the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, even here in Detroit, over 1,500 miles away.

Education and political leaders are now weighing in on stopping this from happening moving forward.

“It’s the worst thing possible I can imagine as a parent,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “So, in addition to the prayers, I think action needs to be taken.”

The Lieutenant Governor and Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti are still reeling from America’s latest mass shooting on Tuesday (May 24) at an elementary school of all places.

“I’m tired of it,” said Vitti. “These are weapons that are used in war, and for someone to just simply pick up an AR Assault Rifle with 700 plus bullets, we have to look at that.”

Both leaders were at Thirkell Elementary school for the “MI Kids Back On Track” tour. One of their main concerns is ensuring such a tragedy doesn’t happen here in Detroit.

“We have an opportunity to take action on the policy level,” Gilchrist said. “There’s been policies introduced that were debated again on a senate floor in the state of Michigan, and I hope that debate continues.”

The Lt. Governor says he’s hoping republicans and democrats on both sides can find a common solution to America’s problem. But Superintendent Vitti says safety has been something the district has been working on for quite some time now.

“Over the years, we’ve increased training on active shooting,” Vitti said. “We’ve reviewed active shooting plans at schools. We do drills. We’ve invested in better camera systems.”

Vitti believes part of the solution starts in the home.

“I would say the number one way to deter this is relationships with students,” Vitti said. “There are warning signs that students give. The anger, the depression, the isolation that they’re putting on social media; What they may write on an essay response; We have to be hyper-aware of what our students are telling us. They are telling us that there are problems and issues that they’re having that we need they are having that we need to address as a school system, but we need to address as a community.”

There is also mental health support in every school in DPSCD.


About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.