Uvalde victim’s uncle pens opinion piece against UCISD superintendent’s leadership

‘It’s OK to support Dr. Harrell, but don’t forget about the families,’ Jesse Rizo says

UVALDE – It’s been one week since the Uvalde CISD school board accepted superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell’s retirement and approved for a law firm to start looking for a replacement.

The announcement created a separation in the community, with families of the Robb Elementary victims inside calling for accountability and Harrell’s supporters outside rallying around him.

Jesse Rizo, Jackie Cazares’ uncle, has penned an opinion article saying Harrell has failed to unite their divided community.

RELATED: Jacklyn Cazares, 9, remembered as a ‘firecracker’ and ‘free spirit’

In the article posted in the Uvalde Leader News, Rizo writes Harrell has been called nice and charismatic, which is indisputable.

But his article went on to say that Harrell lacks the characteristics needed for someone in his leadership position.

Rizo said a lack of leadership is part of what keeps the community from coming together.

“He lacked a characteristic called leadership, and that is where you take a situation of this magnitude -- and the crisis and at different levels -- you begin to get the community together. Make them understand each other right. And make them work together towards a peaceful outcome,” Rizo said.

At this point, Rizo says it is too late for Harrell to call for unity. He doesn’t think Harrell has it in him.

“I don’t think he’s capable. I don’t think it’s within him. I think that he’s missed many opportunities. I think that’s probably the biggest opportunity he had was (on) Monday when all those people were there. He should have just invited them in. You know, he should have just moved it over to the auditorium,” Rizo said.

Rizo hopes the community comes together on its own to rally around the Robb victims’ families.

Watch all of Rizo’s interview below

Jesse Rizo, Jackie Cazares’ uncle has penned an opinion article saying Harrell has failed to unite their divided community.

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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.