ITHACA, N.Y.—Though no actual threats have been made against schools locally, both the Ithaca Police Department (IPD) and the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office have issued statements acknowledging the extreme act of violence that occurred in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, when a shooter entered an elementary school and killed 19 students and two teachers.

To help alleviate stress and make local students and staff feel safer, there will be an increased police presence at schools, Sheriff Derek Osborne said in a Facebook post.

IPD and sheriff’s deputies will be stationed and patrolling around schools within the City of Ithaca and the rest of the county.

Ithaca Police Department Chief John Joly said in a press release that there is “No knowledge of any specific threats in our community, yet neither did the kids and teachers in Texas, nor did black residents at the Buffalo Tops Market,” and that the department’s intent “is to help the students and faculty have an increased sense of safety and security.”

There haven’t been any official statements issued by the city on the situation, though Fourth Ward Alderperson Jorge DeFendini spoke out against boosting police presence around schools once Joly announced the move.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said May 25 that she will push to increase the minimum age for purchasing certain firearms from 18 to 21. Both the shooters from the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo and the Uvalde shooter were 18-years-old.

Additionally, New York State Police will be doing daily school “check-ins” through the end of the school year, at Hochul’s request.

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. She has covered a wide range of topics since joining the news organization in November 2021. She can be reached at zhessler@ithacavoice.com...