“I went to talk to my son and said, ‘They’re going to have more cops. They’re going to have higher fences. And he didn’t have it,” Zayon’s father, Adam Martinez, said.
“He said, ‘It doesn’t matter. They’re not going to protect us.'”
Today, families who have already lost a child in the massacre fear sending another child back to school. And months of preparation by parents and school administrators will be put to the test.
Robb Primary School will not reopen
“We will not be returning to this campus,” Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell said in June.
Instead, kids who were in first grade at Robb Elementary last year will start second grade at Dalton Elementary.
Last year, Robb’s second and third graders will go to the new Uvalde Elementary, located in an existing education complex in town. Many teachers from Robb Elementary moved to Uvalde Elementary.
And some students have left the school district altogether.
Enrollment at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Uvalde has started its new school year with double enrollment of primary-aged students from last fall, its principal said. The new students include 30 from Robb Elementary who received scholarships to attend private school.
All students remaining in the Uvalde Public School District could enroll in remote learning and use tablets provided by the school district.
Martinez said his two children have opted for remote learning. “I spoke to my son and my daughter, and they said they were afraid that if it happened again, they wouldn’t be protected,” he said.
“There’s no fencing at the college my daughter would go to. There’s no way I’m going to convince her to go when there’s no fencing.”
But remote learning is not possible for some families in which both parents work outside the home.
And changing the scenery will not erase the horror that torments the families of the victims, especially those who are wondering whether to send their other children back to school.
“I don’t feel like my kids are safe”
Uziyah Garcia is expected to start fifth grade today. But he was shot in his classroom aged 10, leaving his family crippled with grief.
“It’s something that terrorizes you day and night,” said Uziyah’s uncle, Brett Cross, who was raising Uziyah as his own son.
“I close my eyes. All I see is my son. I hear the gunshots. It’s something that never goes away.”
But Cross has four other children in the school district. He struggles to decide whether to send them back to school in person.
“You want your kids to be able to go and have that education and everything, but at the same time you’re afraid they won’t make it by the end of the day,” he said.
“We’ve already seen that they haven’t done their job. So how are we supposed to trust that?” he said last week. “I don’t feel like my kids are safe.”
Cross has two 15-year-old daughters who have decided to go back to school in person. He said they are old enough to make their own decisions, with guidance from their parents.
“But my little ones (ages 7 and 10)…we’re not sure yet,” he said. “I don’t feel like everything has been done to protect our children.”
But he wants to see more active monitoring of schools. “We’ve had several requests for someone…to watch the surveillance and all that kind of stuff, a dedicated person,” he said. “It would make me feel a lot safer.”
What the school district does
The Uvalde School District also announced new safety measures planned for this school year. They include the hiring of 10 additional school police officers; install 500 new security cameras; the assignment of 33 Texas DPS officers to the Uvalde School District; and the search for a new acting police chief.
The school district said it has also increased emotional support for students, including comfort dogs on every campus for the first few weeks of school, additional school counselors and trauma-informed care training for all students. Staff.
But Cross said he’s not done demanding more safety measures – not just for his surviving children, but for all children in the hope that no other family has to endure the agony. from which he suffers.
“I fight the system that let him (Uziyah) down. I’m at every city council meeting. I’m at every school board meeting,” he said.
Cross also wondered why 18-year-olds in Texas could buy assault rifles like the one used to kill Uziyah.
“You have to be 21 to buy cigarettes and alcohol, things that can kill you. But you only have to be 18 to buy something that can kill many people,” he said. declared.
“I’m channeling my grief into the fight right now because this fight is a fight that everyone should be in – but no one does until it’s them. And it’s a lot harder on that side with that hole in your heart doing this fight.”