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Statement from Texas FFA Executive Director Maynard 7/8/16 1:32 PM      
With the 88th Texas FFA Convention scheduled to kick-off in downtown Dallas in a matter of days, many of our agricultural educators along with their parents and administrators have understandably expressed concern regarding the events which have unfolded over the past 24 hours. 

We will be holding Tele-Town Hall meeting today at 2:00 p.m. to provide a briefing regarding the situation in Dallas. Please call-in on this number 888-652-0380.

We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those officers who lost their lives protecting those who were exercising their first amendment right to peaceably assemble and voice their concerns. The statement that these peace officers put their lives on the line everyday for us is a well-worn phrase that often loses its impact until an incidence such as this brings the true reality of it into focus. 

The executive leadership of Texas Team Ag Ed met via conference call with city officials earlier today to assess the downtown situation and to exercise proper due diligence in ensuring the safety of all convention attendees. 

We reiterate that the attack that occurred in Dallas was orchestrated specifically against the law enforcement community. The perpetrators did not target visitors or other citizens, and there was only one casualty, who was not a law enforcement officer. We have no reason to believe that Texas FFA is a target. However, we are aware that there is always the possibility of copycat crimes.  

To that end, the City of Dallas has significantly increased law enforcement presence in the downtown area and on the DART Railway. Protecting the Texas FFA Convention is a high priority for the city. Furthermore, Texas FFA is strengthening its defensive perimeter to ensure that there are trained, armed security personnel at all potential entry points. We have had conversations with the larger hotels where we have contracted room blocks and there is additional outreach to all of the 22 hotels in the Texas FFA Housing Block. 

There are common sense measures that each group can take to ensure a safe convention experience. First, all teachers should have their cell contact entered into our text alert system which enables Texas FFA to quickly disseminate information. This can be done at Parents and guests can register for convention mobile alerts through the mobile app at Secondly, as is the case in every large city situation, always travel in groups, be aware of your surroundings and report things that seem suspicious. The American Hotel and Lodging Association has provided these helpful tips.
We are looking forward to a great convention experience. Adversity provides us an opportunity to demonstrate our wisdom, tenacity and resilience.

Tom Maynard
Executive Director
Texas FFA Association

Statement from Texas FFA Executive Director Maynard 7/8/16 8:21 AM      
I would speculate that most of you, like me, watched the yesterday's and last night's incidents in Dallas with grave concern, since we are due to hold the 88th Texas FFA Convention in the same downtown next week. 

At first blush, the event appeared to be a demonstration which turned riotous, but as the facts have emerged, it appears that the suspects in the case used a rally as a cover to commit an egregious crime against Dallas law enforcement public servants. It appears that this, not the harming of civilians, was the intent of the perpetrators. 

As of this morning, the affected portion of downtown remains locked down. We have heard from our production crew this morning who were scheduled to move into the building at 7:00 a.m. However, because the convention center is administratively connected to Dallas City Hall, it was on lock down at early this morning, but this was lifted at about 7:00 a.m. and our team was able to launch, albeit 30 minutes late. The state officer selection process is also due to get underway today and Dr. David Frazier who is onsite has a high level of confidence in the safety of his operations at the Sheraton. The events that unfolded last night were not near the convention center, but do have some proximity to some of the hotels being used by our schools.

Our challenge moving into convention is a very understandable perception that downtown Dallas is not safe for our students and teachers. You may have parents who have reservations about sending students into downtown Dallas. Please rest assured that we are taking an additional look at our security plans and protocols not only at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, but on the DART Rail trains and in other
areas where our groups may be.
We will be holding a conference call later in the morning to address issues related to this matter. Please stay tuned. Thank you for your leadership.

Tom Maynard
Executive Director
Texas FFA Association

Hotel Statements      
NameDate AddedSize
Hyatt Regency Dallas Statement 7/8/2016 152 KB
Sheraton Downtown Statement 7/9/2016 24 KB

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