In light of Uvalde school shooting, private school enrollment skyrockets

For many families making the switch, their main concern is about safety.

SAN ANTONIO – A new school year means new buildings and new security for the city of Uvalde.

Robb Elementary School is set to be demolished and some students will be going to different campuses starting August 15th.

For some families, they’re making a more drastic change when it comes to their schools.

“We’re on a target to be at least 100 students. Last year, we started with 52,” Pastor Scott Quidley, superintendent at McCauley Christian Academy, said.

The McCauley Christian Academy is under construction, working to accommodate an influx of new students this year.

“This here is going to be another preschool room, which is, we’re going to be able to use that for our academy. And that’s a large room,” Quidley said.

Ever since the Robb Elementary shooting, interest and enrollment have been up.

“Sometimes more than one a day, meeting with more than one family a day,” Michelle Miller, the administrator at the school, said.

It’s part of a growing trend.

The Archdiocese of San Antonio said multiple Robb Elementary families are switching to Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Private schools like Sacred Heart and McCauley will cost families several thousand dollars per child per year, but their main questions center around one thing.

“What do you do about safety?” Quidley said.

The one door in and out of McCauley Christian Academy is always locked. A secretary inside will need to buzz you in. Once you get inside, there are even more security measures in place.

The school is surrounded by padlocked gates, they have armed security on site and cameras covering nearly every inch.

“Some additional protocols for safety on our classroom doors. And they’ll be locked doors all the time,” Quidley said.

In Uvalde, Sacred Heart Catholic School just received similar upgrades including security cameras, magnetic locks, a key card system and wiring, and hardware throughout the school.

Uvalde CISD announced they’ll be using a $1 million gift from the Las Vegas Raiders to install new perimeter fencing, cameras, upgrading doors and locks, and they’re hiring additional district police and security personnel.

Necessary changes to adapt to a new normal.

“Ten years ago, we didn’t, weren’t as much concerned about safety as we are now,” Quidley said.

The Archdiocese of San Antonio launched a campaign to raise money to pay for tuition at Sacred Heart. That recombination with a large donation will accommodate for up to 100 additional students.

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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