Robb Elementary School, where 19 children and two teachers were massacred last month in Uvalde, Texas, will be demolished. A new school will reportedly be built in its place.
“My understanding—and I had this discussion with the [school district] superintendent—is that the school will be demolished,” Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin told the Uvalde City Council on Tuesday evening. “You can never ask a child to go back, or teacher to go back, in that school ever.”
The school currently has almost 600 students in the second, third, and fourth grades, and McLaughlin did not give a timeline for when the demolition would take place.
The decision echoes one taken in Newtown, Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook school building was razed and replaced with a new structure after 26 people, including 20 children, were killed during a mass shooting.
There are still multiple ongoing investigations into the Uvalde shooting, as well as investigations into how the police responded to the threat.
Police officers have been accused of failing to intervene earlier in the attack, and more than a dozen armed officers waited for more than an hour outside the unlocked doors of the classrooms while the gunman was inside.
In Uvalde and around the country, there is a lot of anger about police inaction as well as the lack of publicly available information about the police response.
“I want to know who the hell is in charge of this investigation because you can’t get a straight answer,” McLaughlin told Uvalde’s city council.
Hours earlier, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Col. Steve McCraw, revealed that the doors to the attacked classrooms were not locked. “Terrible decisions were made by the on-scene commander,” McCraw said in a Senate hearing Tuesday, referring to the school district’s Chief Pete Arredondo.
The special city council meeting Tuesday night was called in part to discuss whether to grant a leave of absence for Arredondo, who was elected as a member of the council days after the shooting.
During the highly-charged meeting, McLaughlin also accused McCraw of omitting key information about the attack in public comments and in briefings he received personally in addition to selectively leaking information to make local law enforcement look bad while omitting the role played by public safety officers.
“[McCraw] has an agenda, and it's not to present a full report of what happened,” McLaughlin alleged, adding that McCraw continues to “lie, leak, or misstate information.”
McLaughlin announced during the meeting that the option of suing the Department of Public Safety was still not off the table.
Berlinda Arreola, the grandmother of 10-year-old victim Amerie Jo Garza, addressed the council on Tuesday night, saying the hurt and anger she’s felt since the shooting has gotten “worse and worse.”
Arreola called for Arredondo’s removal from the council, saying: “Do what you have to do, but get him out of our faces.”