TEXAS — No student or staff member will be asked to return to Robb Elementary, Superintendent Hal Harrell told the Uvalde community during a special-called board meeting on Friday night.
Robb Elementary, where 19 children and 2 staff members were shot to death on May 24, is the home to the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th-grade classes. During Friday night’s board meeting, a crying mother begged the school board not to send her 1st-grade son to the Robb School campus when school begins in the fall.
“The last memory (my son had) of Robb was that he had gone on the second-grade field trip to introduce them to Robb and the teacher and the school,” she told the board. “What he knows right now is when he goes to another school, he’s gonna get shot by a gunman.”
Harrell assured the mother of the Dalton 1st-grade student that no one would be forced to go back to the Robb Elementary campus.
“We are not going back to Robb School. That will not be a school for our children, moving forward,” Harrell said. “We’ve got plans for things other than a school site for that, and that will be forthcoming – as far as what we do with that location.”
Uvalde CISD does not have the typical school campus configuration. Dalton Elementary serves pre-k and 1st grade. Robb Elementary served 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades. Flores Elementary served 5th and 6th grades. Morales Junior High is 7th and 8th grades. Uvalde has two high schools: Uvalde High School and Uvalde Early College High School, plus a dual-language elementary school and an alternative school.
The alignment of the district’s schools could change, Harrell said. And, possibly, young students at Dalton might stay another year on the campus, if that makes sense.
“What you said – and what your son spoke – we’re going to listen to that voice and that will be taken into consideration,” Harrell told the mother. “If he’s been there two or three years already – you know, that make be a solid fabric for your family and that young man.”
Harrell also emphasized that point in a message sent out to the community last week.
Each board member mentioned victims of the May 24 massacre during the meeting’s opening prayer. The names were read, again, as the school board closed its meeting.
“Lord, we ask you to cover your entire community with peace and compassion,” board member Anabel White prayed. “May all our torn hearts be restored. Hear us, oh God, as we pray for the conversion of our hearts and for a commitment to peace amongst 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 segregated in Uvalde. Some like, Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio- have said the school should be torn down. Others want to preserve its history.
After the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999, the library where most of the shooting 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 shooting occurred.
The UCISD board did go into an hour-long closed session to discuss personnel matters and the legal ramifications of the Robb Elementary shooting. No action was taken on UCISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who has been the subject of controversy in the shooting timeline. When he made his remarks, Harrell said he still didn’t have all the answers for the community.
Trustees passed a board resolution to authorize Harrell to act on the district's behalf during the ongoing investigation into the Robb Elementary massacre.