El Paso area school districts are remaining vigilant to ensure the safety of students and staff as the increasing number of migrants coming to El Paso is being felt citywide.
Dozens of El Paso schools are within a few miles of the border, including in hot spots were migrants are gathering as they wait to be processed by federal officials. The number of migrants arriving in El Paso is expected to continue to rise as Title 42 restrictions end May 11.
In an alert sent to parents Sunday, El Paso Independent School District officials said district police continue to be posted at campuses and are patrolling the area. The district also is “actively collaborating” with local law enforcement agencies and the El Paso Office of Emergency Management.
“As the city anticipates an influx of migrants, we understand the community may be concerned about safety,” officials said in the message. “El Paso ISD is closely monitoring the situation and taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all students and employees.”
There have been "no recent incidents at any of our active campuses," EPISD officials said in an email.
The district released this statement late Monday:
"El Paso ISD Police is collaborating with all local law enforcement agencies through the Office of Emergency Management and the activation of the Emergency Operations Center. Our officers have actively patrolled and maintained a presence at campuses near the border throughout the evolution of the situation surrounding Title 42. The safety and security of our students, staff and facilities is our highest priority."
One of the largest gatherings of migrants is at Sacred Heart Church near Downtown El Paso.
EPISD’s Aoy Elementary School is located about four blocks south of the church.
Dozens of migrants have been seen running across the César Chávez Border Highway after illegally coming into the U.S. and then running into the surrounding neighborhoods.
The El Paso and Ysleta school districts have several schools located near the Border Highway in South El Paso and the Lower Valley, including Hart Elementary School, Guillen Middle School, Frederick Douglass Elementary School, Allie D. Clardy Elementary School, Bowie High School, Riverside Middle School, Riverside High School and Thomas Manor Elementary School.
The Ysleta ISD also sent a notification to parents Sunday. There have been no incidents involving migrants at any of their campuses, officials said.
Security has been increased at the district's campuses, officials said.
"Ysleta ISD is aware of the rising numbers of migrants at the border, and we are working closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement to ensure our campuses remain safe," YISD officials said. "We have additional security officers monitoring our schools to ensure there are no unauthorized persons on campus, and our increased security presence will continue until further notice."
The Socorro ISD, which has several schools within miles of the border, including Socorro High School, Socorro Middle School and Campestre Elementary School, increased the presence of district police at its campuses as a precaution, officials said.
"The Socorro ISD safety team has been in proactive communication with area officials regarding the potential for an increased number of migrants passing through our communities," SISD officials said. "As a precaution, district police last week increased the presence of officers in our communities near the border and continue coordination with partner law enforcement agencies to keep our schools and community safe."
There have not been any encounters of migrants on SISD campuses, officials said.
In the Upper Valley, Canutillo ISD officials said they have not had any incidents on district properties connected with migrants nor do they believe any of its "schools are in any imminent danger.”
However, the Canutillo police and security personnel were told to be on "heightened vigilance, particularly at those campuses near roadways that lead to ports of entry," district officials said.
In far East El Paso, Clint ISD officials will be meeting to discuss any measures the district will take because of the increase of migrants in El Paso County, a district spokesperson said. She added more information would be released after the meeting.
Aaron Martinez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AMartinezEPT.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: El Paso school districts focus on safety as migrants come to city