Uvalde, Texas, police officers who were part of the school shooting response that’s the subject of a Justice Department probe may be allowed to work in the school district when the school year begins, ABC News and The Texas Tribune reported.
Officers who responded to the tragedy, which left 19 students and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School, are set for an evaluation, according to ABC News.
But the evaluation hasn’t happened yet and parents at a Monday town hall with the school board weren’t happy about the lack of action by the board.
The Uvalde school district’s safety plan for the school year, which begins Sept. 6, includes 33 Texas Department of Public Safety officers keeping an eye on district buildings, although the board couldn’t say how many of those officers were ones who had responded to the May shooting.
Uvalde resident Diana Oveldo-Karau told the board that some officers could be those who waited over an hour to confront the gunman, The Texas Tribune reported.
“And I continue to just not understand how the school board and administration can believe that just because you have those DPS members on site … expect us to believe that our children will be safe,” Oveldo-Karau said. “Those are the people who failed us.”
An audit team’s evaluation of the five-member school district police force is set to come in late September, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
School safety enhancements, including security camera installations and a “strengthening of school vestibules and entrances,” aren’t expected to be completed in time for the school year’s start, the newspaper reported.
Brett Cross, who lost his 10-year-old nephew Uziyah Garcia in the shooting, pressed the school board: “You haven’t audited your officers yet and you expect our kids to start school?”
School board member Laura Perez responded to accusations that the board doesn’t care about victims’ families on Monday.
“I just want to make sure we do it the right way and that change comes correctly,” Perez said.
“I grew up here. I graduated here. I raised my children here. This community means a lot to me. We are going to do right by your children, and those 21 lives,” Perez added.
The Monday meeting came about a week after the board fired Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo.
Uvalde Superintendent Hal Harrell said he plans to talk about residents’ concerns in regard to the Department of Public Safety officers with a department lieutenant on Wednesday.