Less than three months after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary school that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that he’s hiring 30 additional police officers for the district ahead of the forthcoming school year.
“The beginning of a new school year should be an exciting time for students and teachers, and the State of Texas is working to provide that for the Uvalde community,” Abbott said via statement. “As a new school year begins, we must ensure students, parents, and all dedicated school personnel can look forward to new opportunities to learn and grow. Texas will keep working to provide all available support and resources to the Uvalde community as they continue to heal.”
Abbott’s statement claims that the additional security presence was at the behest of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) Superintendent, Dr. Hal Harrell, in an effort to ensure students, parents, and faculty feel safer as the start of the new school year approaches.
Lest anyone forget: In July, a 77-page report conducted by a special Texas House committee—the first comprehensive assessment of law enforcement’s response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas—confirmed a complete lack of action on the part of the school police chief, Pete Arredondo, and the hundreds of federal and local officers who were called to the scene. A host of “systemic failures” by police was detailed in excruciating detail, and despite law enforcement’s best attempts to suppress bodycam footage and intimidate parents from questioning their response, there is appalling video evidence that the nearly 400 armed and bulletproof-vested officers who arrived on the scene did little but dawdle, use hand sanitizer, and keep frantic parents from entering the building as children were murdered en masse. Eventually, it wasn’t even officers from the Uvalde police department that ultimately apprehended the shooter, but a small group of officers that included Border Patrol agents and a deputy sheriff from a nearby county.
Abbott, along with city officials and the Uvalde police department, has worked diligently to portray a starkly different version of the shooting since it occurred in May. In the immediate aftermath, Abbott praised police for “running toward gunfire.” Abbott’s office doubled down on his support for law enforcement behind closed doors. According to the New York Times, the city attorney gave the department a document labeled “narrative” during a closed-door meeting days after the shooting that contradicted many of the details of the assessment and video footage, and was riddled with inaccuracies. One section of the document referred to the School District police force and the Uvalde Police Department officers as “heroes,” and another lauded them for acting with “zero hesitation.” Abbott has since claimed he was misled.
As of now, Arredondo has been placed on administrative leave, but no formal charges have been leveled against any law enforcement entity involved in the shooting. In an all the more unsettling development, a state district judge also ruled today that the Department of Public Safety is not mandated to release records related to the school shooting.
It’s unsurprising that Abbott, who has repeatedly demonstrated allegiance not just to the gun lobby in general but also to blatantly inept law enforcement, chose to double down on that support. But the fact that it’s over children’s lives, as not one officer is held accountable for the entirely preventable annihilation of 21 people, is nothing short of horrifying.