After 10 days of victims’ relatives protesting and one father camping outside the Uvalde, Texas, school district administrative building, the school district announced on Friday that it had suspended its police department.
Brett Cross, who lost his 10-year-old son, Uziyah Garcia, in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary on May 24, was particularly vocal and insistent that the school district take action, the “Today” show reported.
Cross camped outside the school district’s buildings protesting the officials’ lack of action.
“I’m not backing down. I’m a pissed-off dad who is going to do everything in his power to not let this happen to another child or another father or another mother,” Cross told “Today” in a telephone interview.
After the delayed police response when the gunman entered the elementary school and killed 19 students and two teachers, there has been heavy criticism from the Uvalde community and others throughout Texas and the U.S., The Washington Post reported.
The police response has also been under investigation.
In evaluating events, a Texas state House committee reported that “we found systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making.”
“The void of leadership could have contributed to the loss of life as injured victims waited over an hour for help, and the attacker continued to sporadically fire his weapon,” the committee’s report added.
Many family members of victims pressured the school district to do something about the specific officers who were part of the response and the district’s police force.
That then led to the 10-day protest and Cross camping outside, waiting for the district to do something, according to the Texas Tribune, an online news outlet.
“It’s been 18 weeks since our children were murdered, and they haven’t done anything,” Cross told “Today.” “The time for asking is over. I’ve played it their way — I went to the board meetings. I’ve tried to get individual meetings to discuss these things — and everything fell through. They don’t listen. So we’re not asking. We’re demanding. There will be change.
“I am asking … get these officers off of these campuses until it is proved whether or not they were justified in sitting outside of the classroom for 77 minutes,” Cross told the Texas Tribune.
Cross told “Today” that his son wanted to be a police officer when he grew up.
But Cross said that it was police officers who failed on May 24 and it resulted in his son’s death.
“He wanted to be a cop so that he could help people. It’s sickening, that it’s those same officers — in the same profession that he wanted to do — that ultimately failed him,” Cross told “Today.”
The school district did fire one officer on Oct. 6 who had been recently hired, CNN reported.
Crimson Elizondo was hired by the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District but then fired after CNN identified her as an officer who was under investigation for her actions at Robb Elementary on the day of the shooting.
Many called for Elizondo’s removal, but also kept insisting that the school district take further action against other officers involved.
Following these protests and scrutiny, the school district officials announced on Friday that the district police department was suspended, the Texas Tribune reported.
Uvalde school district suspends its police department as shooting p… (https://t.co/vLNGvU3tkO)
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School district officials also announced that Lt. Miguel Hernandez was placed on administrative leave, NBC News reported.
The director of student services, Ken Mueller, was also put on leave and he then resigned.
Uvalde school district Superintendent Hal Harrell also announced his intent to retire, the Tribune reported.
Some see this as a win, but there is still work to be done regarding the response to the shooting and the future of school security.
Javier Cazares, the father of Jacklyn Cazares, a 9-year-old victim of the shooting, is running for Uvalde County Commission and told The Washington Post that families in the community are dedicated to holding officials responsible for what happened.
Cazares said that the district’s decision to suspend the police force was “one of the battles that have been won.”
“At the same time, it should have been sooner,” he told the Post. “It’s a small battle. There’s a lot more to do.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.