(WFXR) — After a teenage gunman took the lives of 21 people — including 19 children — at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday, school districts across southwest and central Virginia shared their plans for increased safety measures and emotional support.

Pulaski County Public Schools posted the following letter from the division superintendent on Wednesday, May 25 about initiatives the district is taking:

Dear Families,

Like you, we are shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas yesterday. We share in the heartbreak we are all feeling for the families who have lost a loved one due to this senseless act of violence.

School should and must be a place where students feel completely safe and secure. As an added precaution, we are working with our local law enforcement officials to have an increased police presence in and around our buildings.

We know that children and teens will process this news in different ways. Counselors are available at each of our school buildings to assist students who may need some extra support. We strongly encourage any students to stop by the counseling office at any time.

Please join us in keeping the students, staff, and families of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District in our thoughts at this time.

Sincerely,
Dr. Kevin W. Siers, Division Superintendent

Amherst County Public Schools also provided a letter to parents following the Texas shooting.

(Photo courtesy: Amherst County Public Schools)

Highland County Public Schools posted on Facebook as well addressing security after the Texas shooting. Below is the statement from school officials:

Dear Ram Families,

Like you, we are shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas. We share in the heartbreak we are all feeling for the families who have lost a loved one due to this senseless act of violence.School should and must be a place where students feel completely safe and secure.

As an added precaution, we are working with our local law enforcement officials to have an increased police presence in and around our buildings for the rest of the week. We know that children and teens will process this news in different ways. Our counselor is available to assist students who may need some extra support. We strongly encourage any students to stop by the counseling office at any time.

Please join us in keeping the students, staff, and families of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District in our thoughts at this time.

Sincerely,

Chuck Winkler

Highland County Public Schools

The school district also posted they will be flying flags at half staff:

Our flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia are to be flown at half-staff until May 28th at sunset in respect and memory of the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Our hearts are with the community of Uvalde, Texas.

Highland County Public Schools

Roanoke City Public Schools released this statement on Facebook about the Texas shooting:

Our hearts are with Uvalde, Texas. Yesterday’s events have many of us feeling uneasy and uncertain, including our students. We want to remind families that we have resources on our website to help parents and guardians have conversations about difficult events.

Please know our counselors are also here if you need additional support. Immediate support is also available by calling Carilion CONNECT at (540) 981.8181.

Roanoke City Public Schools

Elsewhere in the Roanoke Valley, Franklin County Public Schools shared a similar letter on social media:

(Photo courtesy: Franklin County Public Schools)

Buena Vista City Public Schools sent a letter to families:

(Photo courtesy: Buena Vista Public Schools)

Carroll County Public Schools posted a similar message on social media on Wednesday:

Dear Carroll County School Families,

Like you, we are shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas on Tuesday. We share in the heartbreak we are all feeling for the families who have lost a loved one due to this senseless act of violence.

School should and must be a place where students feel completely safe and secure.

We know that children and teens will process this news in different ways. We do have a district crisis counselor as well as counselors that are available at both our middle and high school buildings, as well as our elementary schools if you will call the school ahead of time, to assist students who may need some extra support.

Please join us in keeping the students, staff, and families of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District in our thoughts and prayers at this time.

Sincerely,
Mark Burnette

Carroll County Public Schools

Another New River Valley school district, Giles County Public Schools, also posted about the incident on Thursday, May 26:

Dear Families,

Like you, we are shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas on Tuesday. We share in the heartbreak we are all feeling for the families who have lost a loved one due to this senseless act of violence.

School should and must be a place where students feel completely safe and secure. As we go through the remaining days of our school year, our School Resource Officers will continue to be out and visible within our schools.

We know that children and teens will process this news in different ways. Counselors are available at each of our school buildings to assist students who may need some extra support. We strongly encourage any students to stop by the counseling office at any time.

Please join us in keeping the students, staff, and families of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District in our thoughts at this time.

Sincerely,
Dr. Terry E. Arbogast, II
Superintendent
Giles County Public Schools

Giles County Public Schools

Other schools around the Commonwealth are also increasing security following the Texas shooting. For example, Richmond Public Schools is stepping up safety measures with security checkpoints for students entering the buildings while some central Virginia schools are taking a closer look at their safety plans.

For more advice on how to delicately discuss difficult topics — such as mass shootings — with your children, click here.