Fort Worth nonprofit reviews protocols after 37 killed in Thailand child care shooting

Sakchai Lalit/AP

A Fort Worth nonprofit is reviewing safety protocols and comforting teachers after a mass shooting at a child care center in Thailand, where a former policeman killed 34 people, including 23 children.

After the Thursday rampage, the man killed his wife and child before turning the gun on himself.

When Kara Waddell, the CEO of Child Care Associates, heard about the shooting, she reached out to staff and teachers in a letter.

“This tragedy hit home for me in working to ensure Child Care Associates is supporting our employees, the broader child care community as well as the families and children we serve,” she said in the letter.

In an interview Friday, Waddell said she heard appreciative comments from teachers after she sent the note.

“There’s a special trust that’s put in with a school or child care facility when we leave our children,” Waddell said. “And the idea that there could be a violent act, just like we saw in Uvalde, is terrifying for parents. So when I saw this … the first thing that went through my mind was just how our teachers might feel, and the vulnerability that they may feel, in hearing about their colleagues.

“While on the other side of the world, it still hit home in a personal way,” she added.

Thailand shooting related to domestic violence

In the letter to staff and teachers, Waddell reiterated best practices for dealing with high stress situations, including domestic violence that can cross into the child care operations.

“This was essentially a domestic violence situation that flowed over to the campus facility,” Waddell said

According to police in Thailand, the man left court and was looking to pick up his child, who was not at the center. When he did not see the child, he began the killing spree.

“We all know and interact with families who have troubling issues and stressors in their lives,” Waddell said in the letter. “We also know that a strong early education program is a powerful protective factor in families’ lives by connecting children and their parents to strong, supportive relationships.

“Yet we know families who also demonstrate signals of concern that additional help is needed … and we can all play an important role in connecting families to resources,” she said.

Those resources include a partnership with the Women’s Center, which addresses violence, crisis and poverty experienced by women and families in Tarrant County.

Waddell also told staff about a warning system being developed with the Fort Worth Police Department to allow child care providers to receive advanced notice of possible threats or police activity.

Waddell said she expects more details to be available before the end of the year.