Uvalde Students Fearful Of New School Year: 'They're Not Gonna Protect Us'

By Dani Medina

September 6, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

Tuesday marks the first day of school in Uvalde — the first day back since the deadly shooting that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers in May.

Students, staff and faculty will not be returning to Robb Elementary School, however. "We're not going back to that campus," Uvalde CISD Superintendent Hal Harrell said in June, according to CNN. First graders will continue onto second grade at Dalton Elementary, while second and third graders, as well as a chunk of teachers, will begin the new school year at the new Uvalde Elementary. Thirty Robb Elementary School students also received scholarships to attend Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Some students, however, have left the school district all together while some have the opportunity to sign up for remote learning.

Zayon Martinez is among the students who opted in for remote learning after growing fearful of ever stepping foot inside a classroom again. His father, Adam Martinez, said, "I went and talked to my son and I told him, 'They're gonna have more cops. They're gonna have higher fencing.' And he wasn't having it. He said, 'It doesn't matter. They're not gonna protect us.'" Martinez's son and daughter will spend the upcoming school year learning from home. "I talked to my son and daughter, and they said that they were afraid that if it happened again, they weren't going to be protected. There's no fencing at the junior high where my daughter would be going. There's no way that I'm gonna convince her to go when there's no fencing," he said.

Uvalde schools have spent much of the summer preparing for the 2022-23 school year, according to CNN. New safety measures have been implemented, including the hiring of about a dozen more school police officers, 500 new security cameras, assigning over 30 Texas Department of Public Safety officers to schools and hunting for a new interim police chief. They've also increased emotional support for students, including comfort dogs, school counselors and trauma-informed care training for staff.

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