UPDATED 12:20 PM PT – Wednesday, September 7, 2022
Elementary schools in Uvalde, Texas have reopened their doors for in-person learning for the first time since 19 children and two teachers were killed by a gunman.
Today, students in Uvalde return to classrooms for the first day of school, 15 weeks after the deadliest school shooting in Texas history. https://t.co/PITYO93jOy
Photography by @EvanLRoy / The Texas Tribune. pic.twitter.com/4GPkF9UsZW
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) September 6, 2022
When speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Uvalde County Commissioner Ronnie Garza said there was reluctance from parents who were concerned about the safety of their children. In order to ease these concerns, an eight-foot metal fence was installed around several campuses with more than three dozen State Troopers being deployed as security detail. This comes after the district decided to have Robb Elementary students attend two other schools in light of the tragedy.
“You know there was some reluctance from some parents and it’s understandable, as parents we want what is best for our children, we want to know that they are safe, we want that assurance that the school district is doing what they can to provide a safe environment for our students,” Garza stated.
Despite this, Uvalde parents expressed doubt about these new safety precautions. Those who decided to opt out of sending their children to school were given the option to have them learn virtually.
Michael Martinez, whose stepson was present on the day of the tragedy, was one of those parents who was skeptical about these new safety measures.
“If they aren’t no actions, nothing is going to make me feel better. They can put up a big fence, barbed wire, whatever but all it takes is a car just running into it- it ain’t going to stop nothing,” Martinez said. “Are the police officers going to shoot this time? Or are they going to help or what? But nobody really knows, so that’s why we say we are going to take it day-by-day.”
Additionally, some students remain anxious about the prospect of returning to school.
“When he got in the building today, he was nervous. But right over there, before everything he was normal. If something is burning he freaks out because he says they reminds him of the gun. There are certain parents of the deceased (that) when he sees them he freaks out. It’s a lot of stuff,” Martinez said when talking about his stepson.
In the meantime, school officials have announced that Robb Elementary will be demolished and rebuilt.
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