Months after Uvalde, Texas shooting, 'meet-the-teacher' night shows security improvements vary

Uvalde school shooting left 19 students, 2 teachers dead

ByLeigh Waldman, KSAT
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
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After a shooting in Uvalde killed 19 students and 2 teachers earlier this year, the school district is working to make security improvements before classes start back up next week.

UVALDE, Texas -- In less than a week, students in Uvalde will be heading back to the classroom for the first time since their last school year ended in tragedy.

For months, parents have been calling for safety and security changes, KSAT reported.

That work has started, but it appears it won't be ready in time.

It's a taste of what next week will hold.

Parents and their students walked in and out of Uvalde elementary for meet-the-teacher night Tuesday.

"A little more nervous than normal, but he's got a good teacher," said Angela Potter, a mother of two Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District students.

Lucas Potter is going into third grade. He was at Robb on May 24, where nineteen students and two teachers were killed.

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His mother said she'll have some fear sending him and his brother back next Tuesday.

"You don't think it can happen to you, and then all of the sudden it does," she said

The campus is partially enclosed by an 8-foot-tall non-scaleable perimeter fence.

There are a few holes that need to be filled.

It's the same at Dalton elementary.

But at Morales Junior High, there's no new fencing in sight.

"I went to Morales yesterday, and they didn't have anything improved over there that I saw," said Anson Bills, a father of three UCISD students. "This morning we made him virtual. Yeah, that's how I feel about that."

According to the district's website, fencing work has started on three of the eight campuses.

Uvalde high school will be measured, and a timeline made for when their fencing will be put up.

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"I trust this fence; it's the school board I don't trust," Bills said.

The work on the secured vestibules at each campus is running significantly behind, according to Superintendent Hal Harrell. It's only started at Uvalde elementary, Uvalde Dual Language Academy and UHS.

"We'll have DPS (Department of Public Safety) officers assigned at each entry point when school begins," Harrell said.

The district bought 500 security cameras. They're fully installed at UHS, and started at Morales -- nowhere else, though.

"Again, work won't be totally complete by Tuesday; however, we will continue this work until it is complete," Harrell said.

With school around the corner, there's some optimism about the work that's been done.

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"Hopefully he can feel a little more safer," Potter said.

But there's also plenty of skepticism.

"If I have to pull him, I will. And right now, the only thing I see here is a fence," Bills said.

UCISD shared that 136 students have enrolled in their virtual academy.

That application process is open until Wednesday.

Transfer numbers are not yet available, but looking at UCISD's data through the Texas Education Agency website, in the 2021-2022 school year, there were 416 total transfers out of the district.