State Watch

Uvalde parents call for firings at emotional school board meeting: ‘You need to clean house’

Reggie Daniels
FILE – Reggie Daniels pays his respects a memorial at Robb Elementary School on June 9, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. Nearly 400 law enforcement officials rushed to the mass shooting that left 21 people dead at the elementary school but “systemic failures” created a chaotic scene that lasted more than an hour before the gunman was finally confronted and killed, according to a report from investigators released Sunday, July 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Parents from Uvalde, Texas, on Monday called for the school board to “clean house” and said “shame on you” during an emotional special meeting following a damning report about the response to the May elementary school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

During the meeting, community members called for the school board to face accountability after a report released on Sunday by a Texas House investigative committee “found systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making” in response to the May 24 school shooting.

Among their appeals, they called for five district officers and Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo to be fired, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Rachel Martinez, who has four children enrolled in Uvalde schools, asked the school board why they continued to employ the officers who responded to the shooting, according to the news outlet, adding, “And then we will have to return our children to you for eight hours a day, five days a week. … You need to clean house and start from zero. This failure falls on all of you.”

“If he’s not fired by noon tomorrow, I want your resignation and every single one of these board members because you don’t give a damn about us or our children,” Brett Cross, whose niece died during the shooting, said in reference to Arredondo, according to CBS News.

The Texas House investigative committee’s report, which included thousands of documents and spoke with 35 witnesses, noted that while it “did not find any ‘villains’ in the course of its investigation” besides the gunman himself, it faulted the decisionmaking and “systemic failures” while the shooting was being addressed.

Chief among the issues noted was a “void of leadership,” noting that Arredondo did not perform his duty as incident commander at the time of the attack.

“This was an essential duty he had assigned to himself in the plan mentioned above, yet it was not effectively performed by anyone,” the report said.

“The void of leadership could have contributed to the loss of life as injured victims waited over an hour for help, and the attacker continued to sporadically fire his weapon,” it added.

Arredondo said in an interview last month that he did not believe he was the on-scene incident commander that day.

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