Uvalde parents demand changes at school board meeting

Southwest

UVALDE, Texas (NewsNation) — Parents and community members in Uvalde, Texas, confronted school leaders at a school board meeting Monday, shouting and calling them out for the absence of accountability so far. They are outraged over the lack of answers and slow law enforcement response to the shooting that occurred at Robb Elementary School that took the lives of 19 students and two teachers.

The meeting was supposed to be about new safety measures that are going to be put into place before the start of the upcoming school year.

Instead, it turned angry and emotional as parents called for accountability, answers and real change.

The meeting did touch on some of the safety measures for the upcoming school year, including eight-foot fences that will be installed around local elementary and middle schools. In addition, the start of the school year has been postponed until after Labor Day.

“What are you guys gonna do to make sure I don’t have to watch my friends die. What are you going to do to make sure I don’t have to wait 77 minutes, bleeding out on my classroom floor just like my little sister did?” said Jazmin Cazares, a student who lost her sister, Jackie Cazares, in the shooting.

“My daughter has something to say,” Tina Quintanilla told the school board as she handed the microphone to her daughter, Mehle.

She said, “This was the last dress that all my friends saw me in. Most of those kids were my friends. And that’s not good. And I don’t want to go to your guys’ school, if you don’t have protection.”

Taking back the microphone, Tina added to her daughter’s statement, “And she’s encouraging for her friends not to go to school, too.”

There was real frustration in the meeting over the fact that the school’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, who was reportedly in charge on the day of the shooting, hasn’t been fired yet. The chief is still on leave, but being paid by the school district.

Rosa Arizmendi lost her niece, Eliahna Garcia, in the attack. At the assembly, she said, “I want to take this time to actually get answers rather than just make statements because this is what this forum is for. And ‘I don’t want to answer that’ is not acceptable. Because if you were to ask me, what would I have done? I don’t have military training. I’m not a veteran. Anything that you mentioned, I probably would have been dead trying to get in there.”

Arizmendi wanted answers regarding Arredondo’s investigation, questioning what the board was specifically looking for in order to make its decision on his job status. Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell gave a vague answer to her question, receiving negative feedback from the crowd and fueling their frustrations around unanswered questions.

The school board meeting was held just a day after a Texas House committee released a 77-page report on the shooting, listing what it called multiple “systemic failures and egregious poor decision making” by authorities.

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