Tuesday marks the start of a worrying new school year in Uvalde.
Three months after a shooter with an AR-15-style rifle killed 19 children and two teachers inside two adjacent fourth-grade classrooms, there is new high fencing around the Texas community’s public school campuses that is still under construction, a heavy police patrol that many families don’t trust, and no classes will ever resume at Robb Elementary School.
According to CBS Houston station KHOU-TV, students who attended Robb will be divided between two other schools as they attempt to resume some semblance of normalcy.
Many of them will have a difficult time on the first day of school. Some students will return to school without their best friends or teachers.
One person told KHOU, “I’m quite worried and anxious.”
Because she claims she is a working single mother with no other options, Ashley Morales is enrolling her son Jeremiah back in school. On the first day, she will deliver him to Uvalde Elementary’s front door. Parents won’t be permitted inside, she claims.
“I’m just nervous and scared,” said Morales, whose son attended Robb Elementary last year and lost three friends in the shooting on May 24. A recent “Meet the Teacher” event left her feeling anxious as she walked down the school hallway.
It’s actually going to happen, she exclaimed. “School is about to begin.”
The first day of classes in Uvalde were postponed after a summer of unfathomable grief, rage, and revelations of widespread failures by law enforcement who allowed an 18-year-old gunman to fire inside the adjacent classrooms for more than 70 minutes, even though school had already started weeks earlier in many parts of Texas.
Despite delaying the start of the school year, Uvalde school administrators stated some improved security measures, including as the installation of more cameras and new locks, remain unfinished.
Although the Texas Department of Public Safety has committed to stationing almost 30 state troopers on the campuses of Uvalde, some families find this to be little consolation, given that more than 90 state troopers were present at the scene of the attack.
But according to KHOU, for the families who lost a loved one that day, it simply doesn’t feel like enough.
“It won’t give the populace a sense of security. They can hire 10 or 15 police officers; it won’t make a difference. In Uvalde, people do not feel safe. “Vincent Salazar, the grieving grandfather of Laila Salazar, one of the gunshot victims, spoke to KHOU.
More than 100 Uvalde families enrolled their children in virtual school, while other families withdrew their children from the district and enrolled them in private institutions. For the first time in thirty years, Elsa Avila, a teacher who was shot in the abdomen but survived, won’t be welcoming children because she is still recovering.
Nearly 400 cops in total raced to Robb Elementary following the shooting, but according to a devastating report by a Texas House committee, they waited more than an hour before confronting the shooter. Body camera and surveillance footage showed heavily armed officers stacked in the corridor but not making their approach to the classroom, some of whom were clutching bulletproof shields.
The Texas Department of Public Safety’s Steve McCraw described the response as “an appalling disaster.”
Pete Arredondo, the district police chief, was dismissed by the Uvalde school board last month after he was accused by McCraw and the House report of failing to seize control of the situation and wasting time by seeking for a key to a classroom door that was probably unlocked. The termination hasn’t stopped calls for additional people to be punished. Lt. Mariano Pargas of Uvalde, who was the acting police head that day, is the only other officer who has been placed on administrative leave.
According to CBS Dallas, other school districts in Texas are requesting that staff and students dress in maroon and white on Tuesday to show their support for Uvalde CISD on the first day of classes.