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Uvalde trustees approve delayed start to school year, resolution urging special Legislative session

The school board also approved a new academic calendar, setting Sept. 6 as the first day of school.

UVALDE, Texas — Following county commissioners' footsteps, the Uvalde CISD School Board on Monday evening unanimously approved sending Gov. Greg Abbott a resolution urging him to convene a special Texas Legislative session to discuss raising the age to buy assault rifles from 18 to 21. 

The gunman in the Robb massacre used an AR-15 to kill 19 students and two teachers, and was 18 years old. 

“There’s no reason for an 18-year-old to have something like that," Superintendent Hal Harrell said.

Trustees also unanimously approved a revised academic calendar that pushes the start of the upcoming school year back by three weeks, allowing Uvalde CISD enough time to gather mobile learning pods and other resources to accommodate former Robb Elementary students who will be learning elsewhere. The first day of school is now set for Sept. 6. 

Speaking later about plans for campuses ahead of the new school year, Harrell said one-entry facilities are a priority for the district, as are bulletproof windows and fixing communication gaps. 

A 45-minute period of public comment preceded Monday's business, during which community members once again criticized, questioned and pleaded the board for accountability. One woman said residents were fed up that little tangible action has been taken in the two months since Robb. 

Another woman identified herself as a bus driver for the district, saying she and her colleagues were unprepared for what transpired on May 24 and suggesting the transportation team be included in future training.

Perhaps the meeting's most dramatic moment came early, when a large number of attendees decried a public commenter who defended the district, in an attempt to create unity. 

A Mexican-born woman who came to Uvalde as a child, she said she attended every school in the district. 

“I support the district greatly, because I know from experience that you cannot get very far in this life without an education at all,” she said. “When we are completely involved in grief and we are mad… we can say things, we can do things that are completely out of character.”

By the time she was done speaking, over a dozen attendees had filed out of the auditorium where the meeting was held. 

The meeting is trustees' first since postponing a Saturday-morning discussion over whether or not to fire embattled district Police Chief Pete Arredondo, whose termination has been recommended by the superintendent.

What happened last week?

At last week's open-format, often tense meeting, Uvalde community members and parents of Robb shooting victims ripped into district leaders and called for accountability. They specifically decried district Police Chief Pete Arredondo's continued employment with the district, and one mother of four said it was time for the district "to clean house" and hire new police officers. 

In response, Superintendent Hal Harrell said he would continue to consider how to best secure Uvalde CISD campuses. 

What's next?

The school board's next regular meeting is slated for August 15, but another town-hall style meeting will be held August 8 to provide updates on security changes and plans. 

Meanwhile, a new date for the special meeting to consider the future of Arredondo's employment with the district has yet to be announced. He has been on unpaid administrative leave since last week. 

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