Uvalde’s school year begins between fear and unfinished security

Uvalde’s school year begins between fear and unfinished security

Uvalde’s school year begins between fear and unfinished security

Texas School Shooting (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Texas School Shooting (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

A new and worrying school year begins on Tuesday in Uvalde.

There’s a new high fence around the Texas community public school campuses that isn’t finished yet, a heavy police patrol that many families don’t trust, and no classes ever again at Robb Elementary School, three months later a man Armed with an AR-15 Rifle-style he killed 19 children and two teachers inside two adjacent fourth-grade classrooms.

Ashley Morales is putting her son Jeremiah back into class because she says she has no other choice as a working single mother. She will drop him out of Uvalde Primary School on the first day. She says parents won’t be allowed in.

“I’m just nervous, scared,” said Morales, whose son was in third grade last year at Robb Elementary and lost three friends in the May 24 massacre. During a recent “Meet the Teacher” evening, she felt a wave of anxiety walking through the school lobby.

“Oh my God, it’s really going to happen,” he said. “School will begin”.

Although school started weeks ago in many parts of Texas, officials dismissed the first day of class in Uvalde after a summer of unfathomable distress, anger, and revelations of widespread law enforcement failures that allowed an 18-year-old gunman to shoot inside adjacent classrooms for more than 70 minutes.

Despite the extra time, Uvalde school officials said several strengthened security measures remain incomplete, including installing additional cameras and new locks.

The Texas Department of Public Security has pledged to put nearly three dozen state soldiers on Uvalde campuses, but this is no comfort to some families as there were more than 90 state soldiers on the scene during the attack.

More than 100 families in Uvalde have enrolled in a virtual school, while others have withdrawn their children from the district and enrolled them in private schools. A teacher who was shot in the abdomen and survived, Elsa Avila, will not greet students for the first time in 30 years because she is still recovering.

A damning report from a Texas House committee found that nearly 400 officers in all rushed to Robb Elementary after the shooting, but hesitated for more than an hour to confront the killer. The body camera and surveillance footage showed heavily armed officers, some holding bulletproof shields, stacked in the hallway but not advancing into the classroom.

Steve McCraw, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, called the answer “a vile failure.”

Last month, the Uvalde School Board fired District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, whom McCraw and the House accused of failing to take control of the scene and wasting time looking for a key to the classroom door that was probably open. The dismissal did not silence demands for others to face punishment. Another officer, Lieutenant Uvalde Mariano Pargas, the interim police chief that day, was placed on administrative leave.

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For more AP coverage of the Uvalde school shooting: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting.

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