Families of Uvalde victims walk out of school board meeting

Another open forum school board meeting is planned for Aug. 8

Several families stormed out of the auditorium where the Uvalde CISD was held on Monday night, standing united in their call for more safety changes.

UVALDE, TexasResolutions passed by the Uvalde CISD school board on Monday night took a backseat after families of Robb Elementary School shooting victims stood and left the auditorium together.

A woman stood up and started speaking in favor of the school district during the open forum part of the meeting.

One father stood and walked out, and the rest followed as she spoke. The crowd chanted, some with fists raised, “No justice, no peace.”

The Uvalde victims’ families are standing united.

“As you saw, we are together. (The) majority of us are together, and when one of us goes, we all go. We stand together. That is ‘Uvalde Strong.’ That is us being a community and sticking together,” Brett Cross said.

One father only went back into the auditorium to grab the photo of his daughter seated in the front row.

Cross, Uziyah Garcia’s guardian, said they’re upset at the lack of accountability and ownership on the part of the school district for mistakes that led to the tragedy on May 24.

“Two months, finally after I asked and asked and asked, finally said, ‘Well, everybody messed up, but we messed up.’ They couldn’t even accept that and say, ‘Yo, we messed up,’” Cross said.

Berlinda Arreola, grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, repeated over and over again that the families were not done calling for responsibility and accountability.

She said there’s only one side to be on in this situation -- the families’.

“You’re either behind us, or you’re against us. There’s no halfway in, halfway out. It doesn’t work that way, and we’re not going to sit here and let you tell us to our face what they did was right,” Arreola said. “No. You were not one of the 19 families, 21 families, affected by this. You have no right to stand and sit there and tell that to our faces.”

Donny Ray has kids who attend Uvalde schools. He said he isn’t satisfied with what he calls the lack of safety changes on the part of the school board. He’s also mad that more of the Uvalde community isn’t showing up at these meetings.

“Look around, I mean, look around. This is supposed to be ‘Uvalde Strong?’ I don’t see that many Uvalde residents here. I mean, where you at, Uvalde? I mean, come on, we need y’all, you know?” Ray said.

KSAT asked Cross about his thoughts about the news from Robb Elementary principal Mandy Gutierrez’s lawyer that Gutierrez had been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Cross said it’s a start.

“She needed to go too. That’s another one,” Cross said. “She knew what was going on inside of her school, and if she didn’t, then obviously she was inept and shouldn’t be doing that damn job.”

Another open forum meeting is planned for Aug. 8.

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About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news 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.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.