Uvalde CISD holds safety and security meeting after DOJ report calls out failures in the district

The report had a chapter dedicated to school safety and security

UVALDE, Texas – The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District held a safety and security meeting on Thursday. This comes more than a month after the Department of Justice released a scathing report into the Robb Elementary School shooting.

The district unveiled its safety and security committee, which is made up of school district officials, parents, members of law enforcement agencies as well as city and county officials.

According to the DOJ report, the committee’s makeup is dictated by state law.

DOJ safety security committee requirements (KSAT 12 News)

However, that includes some of the law enforcement members who responded on May 24, 2022, to the Robb Elementary shooting.

While many did not attend Thursday’s meeting, Berlinda Arreola, step-grandmother to Amerie Jo Garza, spoke with UCISD Superintendent Ashley Chohlis after the meeting wrapped to voice her concerns.

Chohlis told Arreola she was welcome to join the committee, which the grandmother said she would.

The DOJ report outlined the failure to establish a clear incident command, the lack of communication during and after the shooting at Robb, as well as a history of noncompliance when it comes to locking doors and conducting drills on UCISD campuses.

In light of this, Chohlis announced six subcommittees being formed by district senior leadership to head up issues highlighted in the 600-page report.

The subcommittees are below along with who will be leading them:

  • Mrs. Chohlis- Joint Command Sub-Committee
  • Chief Gutierrez - Operations Sub-Committee
  • Mrs. Espinoza - Joint Information Sub-Committee
  • Mr. Baron - Reunification Sub-Committee
  • Mr. Keith & Mrs. Henderson - Liaison/Notification Sub-Committee
  • Mr. De la Fuente - Logistics Sub-Committee

Chohlis hopes this will help the district not only meet safety standards but exceed them.

“A year from now, as a district, we want to be the gold standard of emergency operations planning and preparedness,” Chohlis said. “That’s our goal as a team (and) as a district.”

Arreola hopes it helps to protect the students and teachers of UCISD.

”I was OK with the things that they said,” Arreola said. “I’m really looking forward to it. I’m glad that they are doing this. For us, it’s a little too late, but for the future…if lives get saved, I’m all for it.”

This meeting also comes the same month when a student brought a gun onto the Morales Junior High School campus.

As a district, Chohlis said it is working on ways to prevent that from happening again. Some of her ideas included metal detectors, clear backpacks, and uniforms for students.

The safety and security committee will meet often to address existing challenges as well as new ones that arise, Chohlis said.

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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.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.

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