After a shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, outside of Houston, left 10 dead in 2018, state leaders have pushed for new plans to bolster school security. Plans focused on detecting mental health conditions, expanding social media threat monitoring, training on shootings and increasing law enforcement presence in schools. Statewide, $100 million has been budgeted for security upgrades such as metal detectors, security systems, two-way radios and bulletproof glass.
Uvalde, a small community not far from the US-Mexico border, was among the beneficiaries, securing a $69,141 grant.
Around the same time, the school district was implementing its own security. He hired two new police officers last year, growing to a six-person force that serves around 4,000 students at several schools. School system spending on security and surveillance services has more than doubled in the past four years, according to budget records.
The district’s security plan included two-way radios, threat assessment teams in every school, and a locking policy on every classroom door. At Robb Elementary, where the rampage took place on Tuesday, officials described fencing surrounding the campus that was “designed to limit and/or restrict access to people without needing to be on campus,” according to records. of the district.
The school district’s safety training exercises in August 2020 included its own police officers, the Town of Uvalde Police, the County Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies.
“It was very successful,” School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo wrote in a summary for district officials.
School district officials did not respond to messages seeking comment Thursday.
Details of the massacre inside Robb Elementary School were still emerging, but officials provided a timeline of events in which they said a school district police officer surrendered at school after 911 calls came in around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. After the officer arrived, the shooter — who had scaled a fence to enter the parking lot — fired into the school and then entered it, according to the timeline. At one point, at least two members of the Uvalde Police Department entered the school, officials said, but were shot and retreated.
About 90 minutes after the initial 911 calls, officials said, U.S. Border Patrol officers entered the building and killed the shooter.