Robb Elementary School, the site of a horrific massacre, will be demolished

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The Uvalde massacre happened less than a month ago. Nineteen children and two teachers were slaughtered in their Robb Elementary classrooms, and dozens more were injured and traumatized. Several of those little kids were calling 911 and begging police to come and save them. Help did not come for them. A dozen cops waited outside the classroom, not even approaching the door, as an 18-year-old shooter slaughtered children. The rest of the Uvalde police force stood outside Robb Elementary, tasering and handcuffing the parents who were begging them to go inside and save their kids. Now the mayor of Uvalde says that the town will tear down Robb Elementary.

Robb Elementary School will be torn down, the mayor of Uvalde, Texas, said just under a month after a horrific shooting left 19 students and 2 teachers dead. During a city council meeting on Tuesday evening, captured on video by CBS affiliate KENS in San Antonio, Uvalde mayor Don McLaughlin was asked by an attendee about the school being “demolished.”

“My understanding — I had a discussion with the superintendent — that school will be demolished,” McLaughlin said. “We could never ask a child to go back, or a teacher to go back into that school ever.”

Also on Tuesday, Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw appeared before a Texas Senate committee to speak about the police response to the May 24 mass shooting, stating that officers could have stopped the gunman if the commander had not hesitated. McCraw was blunt, saying that the law enforcement response was “an abject failure” and claiming that police could have stopped the shooter within three minutes after arriving at the school.

“The officers had weapons; the children had none,” McCraw said during the hearing, watched by PEOPLE. “The officers had body armor; the children had none. The officers had training; the subject had none. One hour, 14 minutes and eight seconds. That’s how long children waited, and the teachers waited, in Room 111 to be rescued.”

McCraw placed the blame squarely on Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was the commanding officer at the scene — even though he later said that he had no idea he was in charge. In his testimony, McCraw said that Arredondo placed the lives of his officers before those of the children.

[From People]

While Pete Arrendondo is absolutely to blame, many more are to blame as well. The cops who waited outside the classroom, the cops who tasered parents, the cops who handcuffed parents, the cops who did absolutely nothing to clear the other classrooms, the Republicans who prioritize their NRA money over the lives of children, the NRA for being a terrorist organization, the Texas Republicans who are utterly useless and corrupt. So many people failed those kids and the Uvalde families. Those are the same people trying to hang everything around Arrendondo’s neck. And while I’m glad that Robb Elementary will be torn down, I get the feeling that Texas does not actually have a plan for what’s next.

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37 Responses to “Robb Elementary School, the site of a horrific massacre, will be demolished”

  1. Izzy says:

    I think they also tore down Sandy Hook after the shooting there. This is the right and compassionate thing to do, no one should have to look at that reminder, much less work at or send their kids there.

    • VivaAviva says:

      They did indeed tear down Sandy Hook. Another one that has stuck with me.

    • lunchcoma says:

      This is kind of interesting, but Columbine High School was NOT torn down. Its name didn’t change, either, probably because lots of things in Colorado have the Columbine name.

      I don’t object to demolishing a school that is older and not in great shape anyway, but removing a building doesn’t change the scars that mass shootings leave on a community. The Columbine damage is still affecting Littleton and neighboring suburbs 20+ years later.

      I suspect Uvalde might help its residents more by actually allowing people to find out everything that happened that day and holding law enforcement responsible for its many, many failures.

      • Melody Calder says:

        They tore down part of it, like the library and built a memorial park area. There talking about tearing it down a few years ago, but it was mainly due to trespassing I thought, not a refusal to go to school there.

    • LightPurple says:

      We have friends whose kids attended Sandy Hook. The kids were all transferred to other schools and the school torn down. A new school has been built for that neighborhood.

    • Wif says:

      I think tearing it down is the right thing to do, BUT it pisses me off because who’s going to pay for that? Will that money come from sorely lacking educational funds? The gun industry should be forced to pay the money it takes to rebuild and restock a school; they have the money and are the cause of the problem, so they should take responsibility

  2. mj says:

    I’d like independent investigators to fully assess the crime scene first. The response to this has been such a shitshow and I wouldn’t be at all shocked to learn they’re hiding evidence. ACAB.

    • Dee says:

      This. And also to erase a standing reminder of the incompetence of the response. I would take part of that building, relocate it and make police work and train in it so this doesn’t happen again.

  3. C says:

    I guess this is the right thing to do but it doesn’t mean anything when so many Republicans and gun-nuts are actively impeding addressing the root of the problem. How many more schools will need to be torn down??

    • Christine says:

      This. Republicans have already refused to do anything the last time young children were murdered. Are we supposed to believe this time will be any different? We get one thing right and a Republican comes along and makes us take two steps back. It feels so hopeless at this point.

  4. K says:

    The horror of it all. Everyone of those law enforcement officers swore to protect. If you take the job you know you can die any day. Even if one of them said “screw orders ” lives would have been saved. It is the highest possible honor to die trying to save the life of a child. These people have no valor and no honor. My god this country. What has happened to us.

    • tamsin says:

      “no valor and no honor” is right. Also no human decency on the part of the cast of dozens who also failed in the tragedy’s aftermath.

    • VivaAviva says:

      I read a few weeks ago that the officers who did finally breach the room disobeyed orders to do so. And there were officers pulling children out of classroom windows, so not all of the officers are reprehensible. G-d bless the ones who acted.

    • AMA1977 says:

      I read today that the police officer husband of one of the teachers who lost her life protecting her students got a call from her telling him she’d been shot and was dying. The response of his fellow officers was to take his weapon and remove him from the premises. I cannot imagine the pain that man feels and the helplessness. Any “officer of the law” who stood by and let those little ones and their brave teachers die should never know a moment’s peace again. They are cowardly and utterly useless. And yes, Texas is the worst. I’m from there and currently live there and it breaks my heart.

  5. LynnInTx says:

    I’m glad they are tearing the place down. I’m glad McCraw was blunt about the so very many ways the police force failed those children. I’m not surprised there is an consensus to stick all the blame on one person. It seems to be the Texas way. Does Arrendondo deserve a lot of that blame? Absolutely. But not all of it. The blame needs to be shared from the top down, and by top, I mean from our senators and congress critters, to the governor and lt. gov, all the way down to the officers. Those children were failed on every single level imaginable.

    Texas – where the government cares more about a zygote than living, breathing children.

    • Miss Nesbitt says:

      I agree—this is a shared responsibility, and a shared failure. It makes me very uncomfortable that Arredondo is being singled out by Texas DPS as the only one to blame. Piling blame on one villain hides others’ mistakes.

  6. Miranda says:

    Good. Now demolish the local police department. Demolish the cowardly governor. Demolish the NRA. Demolish the Republicans who grovel at their feet. Demolish the archaic laws that allowed a teenager to purchase weapons capable of utterly destroying 19 innocent, defenseless children and the teachers who died trying to protect them. Demolish the weapons themselves. Then we’ll talk.

  7. girl_ninja says:

    Just like Sandy Hook, I still cannot believe that this has happened. Mass murders EVERYDAY? Children murdered EVERYDAY? What a sh*thole country we live in.

    • VivaAviva says:

      Truth. I was planning to pack my family and leave the country, but this economic downturn has made it financially impossible and I’m walking around afraid every flipping day.

      • Twin Falls says:

        I was at my son’s school for the end of the year event and I kept looking around wondering what I’d do if someone with a gun showed up. It was so surreal to be watching joyful children play while having such dark thoughts. It’s completely fucked up that anyone thinks more guns is the answer.

      • AMA1977 says:

        I thought the same thing at my child’s gymnastics lesson the week after Uvalde. It’s maddening that we have to feel unsafe in public spaces, and that the people with the ability to make changes to that reality refuse to do so because of the deranged 2A nutjobs and NRA blood money.

  8. VivaAviva says:

    Love to see it when people speak truth to power and don’t pull punches. Nearly a month and I still cry over this frequently.

  9. britbrit says:

    Abolish the police

  10. AmelieOriginal says:

    They did the same with Sandy Hook, that school was torn down and another was rebuilt in its place as well. And last night after reading about Uvalde tearing down its school, I was reading about the infamous Columbine massacre and they demolished the library where most of the killings took place and rebuilt an atrium in its place (I was surprised they hadn’t torn down the whole school and renamed it something else because it is so infamous).

    While the police failed to act appropriately (due to fear of dying?), I mostly blame US gun culture and the terrorist who did the killings. They will always look for a scapegoat in these kinds of events in the aftermath saying “X, Y, or Z should have been done” because hindsight is 20/20 but the truth is none of us know how we will act in this type of situation. Fight, flight, or freeze? The police froze. It doesn’t excuse their response but it goes to show you can do all the school shooting drills in the world, NOTHING will prepare you for the real thing. The answer isn’t “more school shooting drills.” It is less easy access to guns but the NRA/many gun owners (not ALL gun owners) don’t want to hear that.

    • C says:

      The Columbine situation was unprecedented in a lot of ways and they revamped approaches to controlling active shooters BECAUSE of the inadequacy of their response to that situation. Uvalde wasn’t a situation where police panicked. There was a procedure in place they ignored. I work in public places that have required me to undergo active shooter training and even as a civilian I know that. They’re covering up their probable complicit behavior in this and their definite negligence.

      • AmelieOriginal says:

        I agree, the police were definitely negligent. But it just goes to show you can try to put all the best preventative measures in the world (active shooter training drills and what not) but people will make terrible choices in high stress situations, that is a fact. And none of this would have happened if the shooter didn’t have readily available access to guns. It goes to show the idiotic fallacy that a “good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun” which is the USA’s default response to any kind of shooting. Uvalde’s tragedy is a prime example of that.

      • C says:

        The police make terrible choices in these situations because they are often corrupt. Not all, but quite a few.

        The gun laws need reform but that won’t happen because many police are also Republicans opposing them. Not all, but quite a few.

    • lunchcoma says:

      Columbine is a way of referring to a tragedy in most of the country, but it’s also the state flower of Colorado. There are streets and businesses and non-profits that have the name as well.

      I don’t think that trying to remove visible reminders does much good anyway. You still have a community that’s full of people who attended the school, worked there, played sports against its teams, and knew people who died there.

      • AmelieOriginal says:

        Unfortunately Columbine has also become a copycat for many school shooters who were inspired by the two student shooters at Columbine: Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Parkland. All of the shooters referenced Columbine as inspiration. The Columbine massacre is way bigger than the community itself at this point. The school deals with constant trespassing (and it probably has some of the biggest security in the country) from unwanted visitors and has become a morbid tourist attraction. The community itself is divided over whether the school should be demolished/renamed but it’s been suggested because the school’s campus security deals with so many issues from outsiders trespassing. You can read this article from 2019 in the NYT about it: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/us/columbine-high-school-demolition.html

        Also Columbine High School had to go on high alert during its 20th anniversary because a high schooler from Florida who was obsessed with the massacre flew to Colorado and a bunch of schools across Colorado had to close (she was later found dead of suicide). If I were a parent I wouldn’t even want to send my kid there due to all the unwanted attention it gets.

  11. salmonpuff says:

    Obviously it is up to the community, and I understand the impulse. But I wonder if tearing it down is the healthiest way to grieve what happened. As a country, we tend to paper over grief and tragedy as if we can erase it with enough happy thoughts. Part of grieving is often visiting places where trauma happened, or where you have memories of the deceased, and in tearing down the building, the people of the town won’t have that touchstone. Again, it’s their decision, and having never experienced anything on that scale, I might feel the same in their place. They don’t need my random musings, but I wish them peace and healing and a dramatic change in our nation’s gun laws.

    • Blithe says:

      Well, another side of that is not having any choice about being in places where trauma happened. I’ve worked in multiple high risk areas. There’s nothing quite like having a chat with small children who point out the bloodstains. At the same time, erasing the physical reminders of tragedy and trauma without also addressing the factors that led to the trauma clearly isn’t the right answer.

  12. Annalisel says:

    I think I remember reading in Dave Cullen’s book Columbine that demolishing the school was on the table, but the students, their families and the community wanted it taken back and reclaimed for themselves. They didn’t want their school community taken away from them as well.

  13. Robin says:

    I 100% respect the Uvalde community wishes on this. I also know that there are other places, where atrocities happen that are not torn down, because the community wants us to remember that it happened and that some members of the community survived and continue to heal and thrive. As an outsider, I can only give my deepest respect to both choices. I wish for healing and peace and justice for Uvalde.

  14. Karen says:

    There is actually a federal grant available to school districts/towns to tear down/rebuild or remodel/repair a school after a mass school shooting.

  15. phaedra7 says:

    all cos of TAKE-A-💩 and the creature-feature cretins who love/worship him.

    Anti-Christ Fer!🤬

  16. Shannon says:

    It’s hard not to look at what happened and think about how right wingers go on and on and on about the thin blue line and look after our boys in blue, because they’re putting their lives on the line, guys!
    Apparently not.

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