BUDA, Texas — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) participated in a roundtable discussion Thursday, alongside Hays CISD leadership and local law enforcement, to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.
Hays CISD has lost five students to fentanyl poisoning this school year.
During the roundtable, Cornyn heard from the parents of some of those students.
"On August 3rd – I relive that moment every day, wishing I could go back in time to save him. It’s always emotional talking about Kevin and to share our story, but [it's] something we all have to do to protect other kids and parents from what we have had to deal with" said Shannon McConville, mother of Kevin McConville.
Parents who lost loved ones to fentanyl related deaths are still grieving.
"He was a honor roll student, an athlete, a big brother and a friend. He liked to joke around and play prank. He was a good kid," said Janel Rodriguez-Dunn, mother of Noah Rodriguez.
The district, law enforcement officials and student leaders talked about their coordinated response to the fentanyl crisis.
"Over the last 26 weeks, we have done 46 presentations to a variety of different groups, football teams, to HOAs,” Hays County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Hipolito said.
Participants shared how the crisis has prompted the "Fighting Fentanyl" awareness campaign, a joint effort between the district, families and students across Hays CISD campuses. After the roundtable, students from the district's Student Advisory Council showcased student-created fentanyl awareness campaign posters.
According to a release from Cornyn's office, more than 1,600 Texans died from a fentanyl-related overdose in 2021, an 89% increase from 2020. Additionally, the synthetic opioid is now the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 to 45, according to the release.
Among those who attended the roundtable were Hays CISD Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright; the chiefs of the Kyle and Buda police departments, as well as other law enforcement officials; and members of the Hays CISD Student Advisory Council.
Cornyn said what Hays CISD is doing is a model for other schools.
"This is something that needs to be replicated across the state and across the country. But we need to stop the drugs," Cornyn said.