Students and parents in Uvalde, Texas began the new school year on Tuesday with heavy hearts after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School on May 24, the deadliest US school massacre in nearly a decade.
The Robb Elementary campus will not reopen to students and staff. City officials have said they plan to demolish the site and replace it with another building.
“We could never ask a child to go back, or a teacher to go back into that school ever,” said Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin at a city council meeting in July.
School district officials said the kids who were first graders at Robb Elementary last year will begin second grade at Dalton Elementary.
Second and third graders from last school year will attend the new Uvalde Elementary located at an existing educational complex, along with many of the teachers from Robb Elementary.
Some students have left the school district entirely.
“This is something that terrorizes you daily and nightly,” Ben Cross, whose 10-year-old nephew Uziyh Garcia was gunned down in the massacre, said in an interview with CNN.
Cross added that he has four kids of his own starting school this week .
“I close my eyes. All I see is my son,” he said. “I hear the gunshots. It is something that doesn’t ever go away.”
The Uvalde school district announced new safety measures for the new school year, including the hiring of 10 more school police officers and installing 500 new security cameras on campuses.
The state of Texas also assigned an additional 33 Department of Public Safety officers to the district.
The Uvalde school district is also searching for a new interim police chief after it fired now former police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo over public scrutiny of his failed handling of the mass shooting.
“We’ve already seen that they didn’t do their job. So how are we supposed to trust that?” said Cross. “I don’t feel like my kids are safe.”
“You want your kids to be able to go and have that education and everything, but at the same time, you’re fearful that they’re not gonna make it out by the end of the day,” Cross added.
Source: Anadolu Agency