Robb Elementary shooting victims’ families reflect on superintendent’s retirement announcement

Uvalde CISD will meet at the Benson Board room at 6 p.m. Monday, October 10th.

UVALDE – The Uvalde CISD school board is meeting for the first time Monday after the fallout from hiring a former DPS officer who responded to Robb Elementary on May 24th.

Since then, the entire district police department has been suspended and the superintendent announced his retirement.

Parents of the Robb Elementary victims said their calls for accountability did not have to come to this.

“This didn’t need to happen. We agree. We just wanted transparency and accountability,” Kimberly Rubio, Lexi’s mom, said.

It’s been a weekend of reflection in Uvalde ahead of the highly-anticipated school board meeting.

Rubio said she can feel the tension in the town.

“As far as you know, Hal Harrell. I know the community is really upset. A lot of people love him, myself included. But it’s about leadership right now and it’s about supporting us families. I wish more people in the community understood that,” Rubio said.

In an email sent Friday, Uvalde CISD Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell wrote about his 31 years in education, telling staff he wanted them to be the first to know “there will be an item in closed session to consider and discuss superintendent retirement options and transition.”

The board can choose to take action afterward.

Brett and Nikki Cross, who were key in the protest for accountability, both know there is pushback to Harrell’s retirement. It’s something they themselves have never asked for.

“We fight for all the children that the two teachers that lost their lives that day. Hal should be fighting for them too, these were his employees. These were students in his district,” Nikki said.

Rubio said it’s painful how much division has come over Harrell’s announcement.

“It’s just a job. I lost my child. If you’re not going to be there for me, but you’ll be there for him, that’s hard for me to hear,” Rubio said.

Brett is inviting those opposed to Harrell leaving to sit with them at the meeting and to talk with them.

“It takes one, one man stepping down for you to come to a school board meeting, but 19 kids and two teachers dying didn’t? Get your priorities straight,” Brett said.

Before Monday’s meeting, Brett and Nikki are soaking in family time and celebrating their kid’s birthday. They’re all thankful Brett is back home.

“Our world was already broken and we are just learning every day how to put a little bit of the pieces back together and then a piece of us left,” Nikki said.

“It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted out of life is to be a good father and for my, for my kids to be proud of me,” Brett said. “And so I think I’ve achieved that so far. And I continue, I will continue to do that because they mean the world to me.”

UCISD’s board meeting will happen in the Benson Board room at 6 p.m. Monday.

KSAT 12 has been made aware of a rally in support of Dr. Harrell at 5:30 p.m. outside of the board room.

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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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