The Uvalde Massacre: A Teacher’s Perspective
by Elpidio R. Estioko
Once a year, sometimes twice whenever campus incidents occur, we hold our active shooters drill. Before drill, a video presentation and lecture by security officers were held to discuss what to do when an active shooter is on campus.
We learned three things: One, leave the area whenever it’s safe to escape; two, if not safe, find a place to hide to avoid the shooter; and third, if the shooter enters your area/room, be ready to defend yourself. Arm yourself with anything that could repel the shooter such as chairs, fire extinguisher, knives, pencils, etc. that are available in the classroom.
In the May 24 Uvalde School shooting reports, there was no clear information where he shot the victims, whether in the hallway or inside the classroom. Police reports only said that he was able to enter the campus and started shooting people.
Was he in the school hallway shooting the students or was already in the classroom where he shot the students? Applying the active shooter protocol, we learned, people must have escaped or avoided the shooter, but the students who were shot were not able to escape or had no chance to escape.
Another report said that one officer was in the area, but didn’t do anything to stop the shooter. It was reported that he notified his supervisor if he can engage the shooter but the supervisor either did not get the message or ignored it. Had said officer engaged the active shooter, people said it could have prevented more deaths. Had the officer engaged the shooter, however, without the supervisor’s okay, was he justified in doing that?
If the shooter was able to enter the classroom where the victims were, then something must have been done to repel him invoking the third lesson we learned, i.e. to defend themselves. Again, there were no reports that the shooter was in the classroom except that he fired his automatic rifle and killed 19 students and two teachers.
Had this happened, did we prevent more deaths in campus?
A lot of things are still hazy, so the police must continue to investigate the incident and find out what really happened.
A report from the Texas Tribune stated:
“Details of how a gunman was able to enter Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and kill 19 students and two teachers over the course of an hour have come out in parcels since the shooting. Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Department of Public Safety officials have walked back some of their initial statements about the shooting and the authorities’ response after contradictory information came to light. Authorities first stated that officers engaged with the gunman before he entered the school; they later corrected themselves and said he went inside unopposed. Details of how long it took for officers to reenter the school after their first confrontation with the shooter — about 1 hour and 15 minutes — have also sparked widespread outrage and criticism.”
Moreover, politicians rallied for “common sense” gun laws after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
According to a Washington Post report, the gunman in the Uvalde School shooting was 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos “who was bullied over a childhood speech impediment, suffered from a fraught home life and lashed out violently against peers and strangers recently and over the years, friends and relatives said.”
The shooter had no police record, no gang affiliation, and was attested to by friends and relatives that he was a good man but often times the victim of bullying. So, perhaps, in addition to the active shooter drill, schools need to address bullying in schools. This way, we can avoid would-be shooters and avoid them from doing it.
They also need to teach students the consequences of bullying to avoid things happening in campus. He was also reported to not having any mental issues.
Even parents need to be educated on how to discipline their children and how to address issues of bullying in school, this way, we can avoid the incident to happen.
The Senate and Congress had a bipartisan bill which was signed into law by President Joe Biden lately. Were the issues in the Uvalde massacre addressed by the bill? If not, is there a way to amend the bill and insert latest remedies arising from said massacre?
Graduation for the local high school was postponed for now, according to the superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Hal Harrell.
Grief counseling is going to be provided for students and their families at the local civic center.
ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.