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When students return to school in Uvalde today, just 15 weeks after the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, 19 students and two teachers will not be present.
In just more than three months since the massacre, residents have sought to help children return to normalcy with familiar back-to-school rituals, tinged by grief.
In August, one family from Lockhart donated nearly 800 backpacks to students. The next day, an annual wellness fair at the Uvalde civic center included a booth with information on how to care for children and parents’ mental and physical health. Later that evening, people danced and enjoyed live music outside the town courthouse during a summer sendoff block party hosted by local businesses.
Meanwhile, families have questioned whether safety plans for the new school year are enough, and some have been forced to make hard decisions about whether or not to send their children back at all.
Parents, like Brianna Gonzales, are keeping their kids in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. Others, like Adam Martinez, whose 8-year-old son Zayon was present at Robb Elementary on the day of the shooting, will be sending their children to online classes, instead.
Students from Robb Elementary will be relocated to two other schools, and all schools in Uvalde implemented new security measures before the first day of class. Dalton Elementary added an 8-foot fence around the campus perimeter. Sacred Heart Parish School, which began classes two weeks ago, upgraded its security to include new cameras and polycarbonate bullet-resistant sheeting hidden behind colorful paper signs on outside windows.
The full program is now LIVE for the 2022 Texas Tribune Festival, happening Sept. 22-24 in Austin. Explore the schedule of 100+ mind-expanding conversations coming to TribFest, including the inside track on the 2022 elections and the 2023 legislative session, the state of public and higher ed at this stage in the pandemic, why Texas suburbs are booming, why broadband access matters, the legacy of slavery, what really happened in Uvalde and so much more. See the program.
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