UVALDE – Parents of victims in the Robb Elementary School shooting remained defiant outside Uvalde CISD’s doors on Wednesday, marking day two of a protest of the superintendent and district officials.
Brett and Nikki Cross, the guardians of Uziyah Garcia, arrived at the district’s doors before sunrise on Tuesday and demanded that UCISD Superintendent Hal Harrell suspend the officers who stood in the hallway for 77 minutes during the May 24 massacre.
The Crosses and other Uvalde parents, including Jackie Cazares’ mother Gloria, aren’t showing any signs of stopping the demonstration. Their frustrations were only fueled when UCISD canceled a town hall meeting that had been scheduled for next week, according to a Tweet from Brett Cross.
“I met with Hal Harrell for a second, told him my demands. You know, it’s been 18 weeks since our children were murdered, and they haven’t done nothing,” Brett Cross said in a Twitter video posted before 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
“They refuse to do anything, they get to walk in here and act like they work, but we know they ain’t working because they ain’t doing s***,” he said.
“I’m still here and I’m not going anywhere,” Brett Cross said in the video.
He added that Kenneth Mueller, the director of Student Services at UCISD, “put his hands on me” when Mueller tried to make his way into the building on Tuesday morning.
In a video, Mueller is seen trying to move Brett Cross aside at the entrance.
Brett Cross filed a complaint about the confrontation with Uvalde police, according to Berlinda Arreola, the grandmother of Amerie Garza.
Later Wednesday morning, Cazares Tweeted that they were broadcasting the audio from videos of their children, so district officials would hear it inside the building.
Harrell, Mueller, two other district personnel and the Department of Public Safety are in the building, she said.
We are @Uvalde_CISD playing the voices of our children. This is my daughter Jackie Cazares who was massacred at her school on May 24, 2022 along with 18 of her friends and 2 of her teachers. Dr Harrell along with K Mueller, A Espinoza,B Reavies and DPS are in the building pic.twitter.com/wpjaXMahLz— Gloria Cazares (@GloriaCazares82) September 28, 2022
UCISD has issued this statement to KSAT, as of Wednesday afternoon:
“Uvalde CISD remains open to a continued dialogue to address questions and concerns with a scheduled meeting. The administration extended an opportunity to meet with individual protesters at central office; however, the offer was refused.
Based on what we understand the group’s questions to be, we want to reiterate that the district has engaged with the Texas Police Chiefs Association to conduct a Management and Organizational Review of the Uvalde CISD Police Department, as announced during the August 29 Town Hall meeting. Additionally, the district has engaged with JPPI Investigations to conduct an independent review of the Uvalde CISD Police Department’s actions on May 24, 2022. At this time, we do not have an expected completion date for the reviews. Regarding the current status of UCISD officers, as always, the district will not comment on personnel matters.
While we will continue attempts to meet with individuals to address their concerns, our focus remains on supporting our students, staff, and families throughout the recovery process. We are encouraged by the positive start to the school year and appreciate all the support our UCISD family continues to receive.”
At an August school board meeting, Harrell said that James McLaughlin has been tapped to audit and evaluate UCISD police. McLaughlin will be on district campuses conducting that audit on Thursday and Friday, according to Harrell.
The Crosses and other families have said that the officers should be suspended until that investigation is complete, not the other way around.
The city hired Jesse Prado, a former Austin Police Department detective, to conduct an independent internal investigation into the officers’ actions that day.
Prado told the Crosses on Tuesday that the investigation is ongoing and will take time.
Brett Cross asked if Harrell could suspend the officers before the investigation was completed, to which Prado responded that his job is to investigate, not punish, and a suspension would not affect that process.
“You are the boss. Suspend them until that investigation is done,” Brett Cross told Harrell.