WORCESTER COUNTY, Mass. - Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas has a local educator calling for change, and local police discussing the importance of response training and preparedness work. 

Dr. Paul Haughey, superintendent of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District, said his first reaction to the Robb Elementary School shooting was shock and heartbreak, but his mind also moves to the possibility of change. 

“It’s clear that we need to do something different around policy and change the way we have our laws established in the country. There’s just got to be something different being done,” Dr. Haughey said.

He spent Tuesday evening writing a message to staff and students’ families, letting them know counselors, social workers and psychologists are available to support their kids. It’s a conversation many are now navigating. 

“Talking to kids about violence isn’t an easy topic, not for a parent, not for a teacher, but our National Association of School Psychologists provided us with resources earlier in the year,” Dr. Haughey said. “It’s just sad that we have to send it out once more for an incident like the one we just saw in Texas.”

For local police, the tragedy is a reminder of the responsibility of protecting students, whether it be through active shooter response training or addressing concerns as they come. 

“You can never get into a status quo mindset and it’s never routine, so you’ve always got to have that in the back of your mind, unfortunately,” said Webster Police Chief Michael Shaw. “When we see situations that happen like out in Texas, it’s a grim reminder of what could happen and that we constantly need to train.”

Speaking on children’s mental health, Dr. Abita Raj, a child and adolescent psychologist with Community Healthlink, said it’s important to keep an open dialogue. 

“Checking in, if you notice something different, talk,” Dr. Raj said. “Talking is so important. Some kids are open and some kids are going to push you away, but the fact that you asked and engaged is so, so important.”