UVALDE, Texas — Hours of public comment lead to no decision on Monday night on a proposal to delay the start of the new school year in Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.
According to the school board agenda on July 18, trustees were to consider a calendar adjustment for the fall semester to better address staff and student needs for a successful year. Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell later said the delay would also give the district time to implement new safety infrastructure at school campuses paid by a $1 million dollar gift from the Las Vegas Raiders.
If approved, the semester would start after Labor Day, said Harrell.
The enhancements include installing new perimeter fencing, adding security cameras, upgrading doors, door locks and access points. The district said they are also using the Raiders’ donation to hire additional district police officers and security personnel.
However, trustees canceled their regular meeting late Monday after facing questions about the mass shooting and embattled police chief Pete Arredondo. These questions were asked during a special meeting before the regular board meeting.
“Why the hell does he still have a job with y’all?” said Brett Cross.
Cross is the uncle of Uziyah Garcia, a victim of the mass shooting. Cross and other parents continue to push for Arredondo’s exit, especially after an 80-page report by a Texas House Committee revealed the district police chief failed to act as incident commander on May 24.
Dr. Harrell said Arredondo’s employment will be a closed door decision using the committee’s report as a guide to make an informed choice. Currently, Arredondo is under contract and on paid administrative leave.
Another parent told the school board they need to clear out the rest of the police employed within the school district as well. Especially before hiring more officers as part of the school’s new plan on safety and security.
Evadulia Orta said removing the UCISD officers who responded on the day of shooting is the only way she’ll fell comfortable sending her three children back to school in the fall. Orta lost her son Rogelio Torres in the shooting.
“We need to make sure we’re going to have safety and that’s it.”