Emotions run high at Uvalde CISD school board meeting regarding online threats

Until the end of the year, the district is issuing a no backpack policy

UVALDE, Texas – Emotions were high at Uvalde CISD’s final board meeting before May 24, the one-year mark since the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers.

The majority of the meeting on Monday was spent talking about online threats against schools.

Families of the 21 victims asked the district to take these threats seriously.

“I feel like we need to be -- we need to take everything serious and not just assume that it’s not credible because we never know when -- because that man, that person that did what he did, put it on social media, and nobody took him serious either,” Berlinda Arreola said.

Days after a non-credible online threat to a school caused panic in Uvalde and resulted in 90% of students being taken out of school, the after-effects are still being felt.

Arreola, who lost her step-granddaughter Amerie Jo, says not enough has been done to stop the threat of violence.

“It’s been a year, and nothing has changed. We’re still stuck on May 24th,” Arreola said.

Jackie Cazares’ uncle, Jesse Rizzo, agrees.

“I beg you guys, when you get home, get in your car or whatever, ask yourselves, ‘What did I do the last year to make a difference?’” Rizzo said.

In response to the increase in online threats against schools, the district will no longer allow backpacks for the remainder of the year.

Instead, the district will implement a clear bag rule.

Interim superintendent Gary Patterson said he believes these threats will continue and ramp up in the days leading up to May 24.

“It’s very difficult. It’s frustrating to all of us, and it’s one of the fastest rising causes of frustration in our country where we can’t -- we can’t track these in real-time and get that information, whether it’s credible or not, out,” Patterson said.

Patterson said if parents choose to keep their students home for the remainder of the school year, those will be excused absences as long as parents let the district know and the students complete their work.

Just a reminder, there will be no school for Uvalde CISD May 23-25 out of an abundance of caution.

Graduation will be held on May 26, and the district will have extra security present.

Find more Uvalde coverage on KSAT.com here

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.