TEXAS — No students or staff will be asked to return to Robb Elementary, Superintendent Hal Harrell told the Uvalde community at a special board meeting Friday night.
Robb Elementary, where 19 children and 2 staff members were shot on May 24, is home to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classes of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. At Friday night’s board meeting, a tearful mother pleaded with the school board not to send her first-grade son to the Robb School campus when school starts in the fall.
“The last memory (my son had) of Robb was that he went on a second-grade field trip to introduce them to Robb, the teacher and the school,” she told the council. “What he knows right now is that if he goes to another school, he’ll get shot by a gunman.”
Harrell assured the Dalton freshman’s mother that no one would be forced to return to the Robb Elementary campus.
“We are not going back to Robb School. It will not be a school for our children in the future,” Harrell said. “We have plans for things other than a school site for that, and that will come – in terms of what we do with that location.”
Uvalde CISD does not have the typical school campus setup. Dalton Elementary serves pre-k and 1st to note. Robb Elementary served 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades. Flores Elementary served 5th and 6th grades. Morales Junior High is 7th and 8th grade. Uvalde has two secondary schools: Uvalde High School and Uvalde Early College High School, as well as a bilingual elementary school and an alternative school.
The district’s school alignment could change, Harrell said. And, eventually, young Dalton students could stay another year on campus, if that makes sense.
“What you said – and what your son said – we will listen to that voice and it will be taken into consideration,” Harrell told the mother. “If he’s been there for two or three years already – you know, that makes a strong fabric for your family and this young man.”
Harrell also made this point in a message sent to the community last week.
Each member of the council mentioned the victims of the May 24 massacre during the opening prayer of the meeting. The names were read, again, as the school board closed its meeting.
“Lord, we ask you to shower your entire community with peace and compassion,” prayed board member Anabel White. “May all our torn hearts be restored. Hear us, O God, as we pray for the conversion of our hearts and for a commitment to peace among nations, beginning with our own.
Robb Elementary, on the west side of Uvalde, was the elementary school for Mexican-American families when whites and non-whites were still separated in Uvalde. Some like Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, said the school should be torn down. Others want to preserve its history.
After the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, the library where most of the shootings took place was rebuilt. Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and 6 adults were killed in 2012, was razed and rebuilt. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 14 students and 3 adults were killed in 2018, chose to replace the school’s Building 12, where most of the shootings took place.
The UCISD board held an hour-long closed session to discuss personnel matters and the legal ramifications of the Robb Elementary shooting. No action was taken against UCISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was the subject of controversy in the shooting timeline. When making his remarks, Harrell said he still doesn’t have all the answers for the community.
Trustees passed a board resolution authorizing Harrell to act on behalf of the district during the ongoing investigation into the Robb Elementary massacre.