In Uvalde, Texas, kids are returning to the classroom after their summer break. But this is anything but an ordinary first day of school.
Today is the first day of school after the tragic shooting on May 24 at Robb Elementary School, where nineteen students and two teachers were killed by a gunman. The aftermath of the shooting brought forth devastating revelations about the preparedness of law enforcement. The school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, was fired. And while Governor Greg Abbott vowed to bring “accountability” after the shooting, he’s done nothing to meaningfully pass gun safety reform, something many Uvalde residents desperately want.
Abbott has resisted the pleas to call a special legislative session. Last year there were three special sessions he called to pass a variety of rightwing agenda items including a voter suppression bill and an abortion ban.
The governor has also claimed that raising the minimum age for purchasing an assault weapon from 18 to 21 is unconstitutional, though legal scholars have called his reasoning into question. On August 27, community members of Uvalde who were impacted by the tragic shooting were joined by the gun safety organization March for Our Lives for a rally in Austin outside the governor’s mansion. Ana Rodriguez, who lost her daughter Maite at Robb Elementary, specifically called for Abbott to raise the minimum age for assault weapons.
For many children in Uvalde, they will never feel safe in a classroom ever again. Around the state, many students, teachers and school employees wore maroon to honor the community in Uvalde.
There are still ongoing questions about what happened that tragic day in Uvalde as well. Fox San Antonio uncovered emails dating back to 2015 that indicate that several leaders in Uvalde County (as well as Val Verde and Kinney) were requesting help from Abbott and Steven McCraw, the Executive Director of the Texas Department of Safety, regarding their outdated first responder system. Tragically, those requests were not met.
A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).