Crime /

Uvalde School District Will Have 30 Additional Officers from the Department of Public Safety

The district's superintendent reported that $4.5 million has been invested ‘to realign, reorganize and provide services’ to students and staff

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced new security measures for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, including Robb Elementary School where 19 children and two teachers died during a shooting in May.

This includes staffing campuses with 30 police officers who will be provided to the district by the Department of Public Safety.

“The beginning of a new school year should be an exciting time for students and teachers, and the State of Texas is working to provide that for the Uvalde community,” Governor Abbott said in an Aug. 10 statement. “As a new school year begins, we must ensure students, parents, and all dedicated school personnel can look forward to new opportunities to learn and grow. Texas will keep working to provide all available support and resources to the Uvalde community as they continue to heal.”

DPS Director Steven McCraw added that there is “no task more important” than “each child, parent, and teacher feel[ing] safe and protected during this difficult time.”

UCISD Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell had requested additional officers be provided to the district, per the governor’s press release.

Harrell and other school district officials were pressed by parents at a meeting on Aug. 8 to explain what steps they had taken to prepare for the start of the new school year.

UCISD has hired more counselors and social workers, improved fencing, prepared virtual school options and will hold post-traumatic incident training for staff, Harrell told the gathered crowd. 

Additionally, the superintendent said a total of 500 new security cameras will be operational ahead of the 2022-2023 school year. The cameras will allow specifically-hired campus monitors to scrutinize school campuses and gates. The monitors will also check door locks and report any issues to the district administrator to ensure all buildings are in compliance with emergency preparedness regulations, per KHOU.

A report from the Texas House found, among several issues that contributed to the deadly shooting, that Robb Elementary School Principal Mandy Gutierrez was aware of a broken door lock but did not have the lock replaced or repaired. Gutierrez was placed on leave on July 25.

“In total, that’s almost $4.5 million that we have used this summer to realign, reorganize and provide services for our campuses and staff and students as we move forward,” Harrell said during the presentation.

Law enforcement who responded to the May shooting has been denounced for not taking action while the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, fired more than 140 rounds inside the elementary school. 

In June, state Senator Roland Gutierrez filed a lawsuit against the Texas DPS. He requested a judge compel the agency to release records related to the shooting, which was the most deadly school shooting in the state’s history.

“Governor Abbott’s administration is going to every extreme not only to withhold basic information about the Uvalde massacre, but to paint a narrative that absolves the Texas Department of Public Safety of responsibility for the horrid response to the Uvalde shooting,” Gutierrez said in a statement, per the Dallas Morning News. “True justice requires transparency, accountability, and a commitment to solutions. I will do everything in my power to bring justice for this community.”

His request was denied by a judge on Aug. 10.

In addition to increasing the number of on-campus officers, Abbott’s office has also provided the school district with over $1 million to help the community in the aftermath of the shooting by providing trauma-informed counseling, crisis intervention, and other community support. 

The governor has also launched the Family Resiliency Center in Uvalde County, a long-term facility that will provide community services and mental health resources, with a $5 million initial investment.

Moreover, Abbott’s government has set aside $105 million to elevate mental health and school safety services in school districts throughout Texas.

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