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Commissioner Sid Miller: One year later, Uvalde Families Deserve Answers for Closure (5/25/2023)

 

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
May 25, 2023

One year later, Uvalde Families Deserve Answers for Closure

by Sid Miller

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t seen the video from Robb Elementary School, showing Uvalde parents frantically looking for answers about their children. Some were ready to rush the law enforcement officers present to enter the school building. The infamous 77-minute delay outside Robb Elementary has left grieving families seeking answers.

And here we are one year later, and those answers still haven’t come.

From almost the beginning, the story has been about the lack of response from law enforcement officers on the scene. In the year that has passed, promises have been made but have not been fulfilled. No real accountability has occurred, no real demotions. Only four officers were terminated of the nearly 200 who were on hand that day. There have been no formal apologies for the mistakes and tragic missteps that occurred. 21 innocent people dead. 21 families grieving. Still.

As the state official charged with overseeing the school meal program in Texas public schools, this cuts close to home. Uvalde is an agricultural community, and we at the Texas Department of Agriculture felt the pain of the Uvalde community deeply. These are our people; these were our children.

If I could wave a magic wand and end the pain of these families, I would. If I had the power to singlehandedly bring closure and accountability for the tragic actions and inactions that occurred at Robb, I would. It is time to wrap this up and time for this to end. These Uvalde families have waited long enough. Too long, in fact.

Why were the officers not shifted to active-shooter response? Why was the order ‘hold back’ said a dozen times? Why was anyone told to wait when they knew there was an active shooter in the building?

These are not questions that the Commissioner of Agriculture should have to ask. But one year into this tragedy, I’ll gladly use my office as a bully pulpit to ask these questions if it will help end the suffering of these families.

Mistakes were made. Children died. Nothing and no one can change those facts. What can change is an honest discussion of what occurred and a frank assessment of what should have been done differently.

Much needs to be learned from this horrific set of circumstances. I fear that the lack of an honest assessment and discussion can only lead to repeat of this tragedy. That is why we need to bring this to its rightful conclusion.

The Texas House report that was issued about the shooting at Robb Elementary has only led to more questions.  We cannot allow these Uvalde families to suffer in silence any longer. The time for press releases stating “thoughts and prayers for the families” is long past. These families need and deserve answers. Let us resolve that the second anniversary of this tragedy will not be like the first.

###

Reb Wayne
Director of Communications
Texas Department of Agriculture
512-475-1669 (office)
512-484-8914 (cell)
reb.wayne@texasagriculture.gov




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