UVALDE, Texas — Uvalde residents and elected officials are pushing to raze Robb Elementary, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers Tuesday.
President Joe Biden offered to help the school district secure a federal grant for the building’s demolition, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez said.
“They don’t want to go back into that school,” said Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde. “It certainly needs to be a community decision, but that needs to happen.”
Gutierrez says the White House contacted his office about allocating a School Emergency Response to Violence grant, commonly referred to as a “Project SERV” distribution.
The money is earmarked specifically to help schools “recover from a violent or traumatic event in which the learning environment is disrupted,” according the Project SERV website.
Past recipients include Newtown Public Schools, home to Sandy Hook, and Texas’s Santa Fe ISD.
“I don’t think anybody’s plans are but to tear that building down,” Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said in an interview with KENS 5. “It needs to be torn down. I would never ask, expect, a child to have to walk through those doors ever, ever again. That building needs to be gone. Taken away. Gone.”
The Uvalde school board had discussed replacing the school prior to Tuesday’s shooting.
In 2021, a Texas Association of School Boards analyst visited each UCISD campus. He recommended Robb for replacement within the decade.
Robb Elementary opened in 1955. It’s aging facilities are among the best the district has to offer, according to the TASB analyst.
In March, the school board took first steps toward piecing together a bond package, which may have funded Robb’s demolition and replacement. Policymakers hoped to put a proposal on the November ballot.
Mourners visiting a growing memorial at the school said it’s hard to imagine children returning to class at Robb.
“It would be hard for them to go back,” said Hector Gomez, who attended Robb Elementary in 1968. “They’re going to have that same old feeling about what happened.”
Congressman Joaquin Castro is joining a push to rebuild Robb Elementary in Uvalde so students can have a new place to learn.
He was in Uvalde this weekend and met with some of the families. Here's what he said following his visit:
"These people are going through just unimaginable pain and grief, and you know they asked for a few things: they demanded change on gun reform and gun safety laws. People kept asking me how is it that an 18-year-old can go into a store and buy an AR-15, but he can't even go in and buy beer and cigarettes. They're also concerned about their other little kids who are in elementary school, and they don't want those kids to have to go back into Robb Elementary next year. And so I'm going to be pushing the president and the governor to work together to make sure that they're able to build them a new school. I know that State Senator Roland Gutierrez is working hard on this as well, so those kids who did survive, and their relatives, don't have to go back to Robb Elementary. And then they finally want answers to what happened there. You know it took law enforcement by some accounts, an hour, over an hour, to actually go into that classroom and take out the shooter… and they keep wondering 'Why did it happen to our kids? Why did it happen in Uvalde?' Because we've seen scenarios like this before and this is unprecedented. It's just never happened like this before."