Uvalde CISD superintendent promises additional campus security, won’t comment on embattled police chief

Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell held press conference at 9 a.m. Thursday

UVALDE, Texas – The superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District spoke Thursday about new protocols following last month’s shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Before Thursday’s press conference, the district said Harrell would speak about grade-level alignment, safety and security and counseling. He stuck exactly to that agenda and would not answer any other questions pertaining to school locks or embattled district police Chief Pete Arredondo — citing the ongoing investigation and personnel matters.

Harrell said that the district is working with an outside security firm to do walk-throughs at all campuses and determine a list of actions that can be taken to increase security at the schools.

There are law enforcement officers assigned to all campuses for summer school sessions, and the district plans to hire additional officers for each campus next school year, Harrell said.

Many residents had called on Arredondo to quit or be fired after news that the gunman was inside the school for roughly 80 minutes before law enforcement shot him.

School board members called a special meeting last Friday in the wake of the shooting but took no action against Arredondo. The police chief was also a no-show at a City Council meeting in Uvalde on Tuesday.

Harrell did not say whether Arredondo was involved in the current safety inspections.

Harrell reiterated that students and staff will not return to the Robb Elementary School campus in the fall.

“We will not be going back to that campus in any form or fashion,” Harrell said.

Instead, students in pre-k through second grade will attend Dalton Elementary. Flores Elementary School will service children in grades three through six. That includes all children from Robb. Harrell said in the future, the district will ask for community input to determine the future of the Robb Elementary site.

He also said parents of students at Robb Elementary School will be notified about where and when to collect their student’s items that were left behind at the school.

Harrell said district officials plan to meet Thursday to discuss possible options for a graduation ceremony for the district’s seniors who have yet to collect their diplomas.

The superintendent said children who are currently in summer school can receive counseling support on their campus or could be referred to other community providers.

Harrell said counseling services are currently available through Family Services Association, Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas and Region 20 at the Benson Educational Complex Cafeteria located at 601 Dean Street Monday through Thursday between the hours of 10 a.m. through 6:30 p.m.

There is a list of other service providers on the district’s website.

Harrell said going forward, he would be holding weekly updates for parents in the district.

On Wednesday, victims and parents from Robb Elementary School along with Uvalde’s only pediatrician testified before Congress about the issue of gun violence in America.

On Thursday, a Texas House Committee will hold a hearing on the Robb Elementary School shooting investigation.

Read the latest updates on the Uvalde school shooting.


About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.