UVALDE, Texas—The school in which 19 children and two teachers were massacred on May 24, had been in lockdown four times in the month prior to the shooting, said Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin.

Schools in the whole district had been in lockdown mode 47 times since February due to the border crisis spilling into the city, which is a smuggling corridor from the U.S.–Mexico border to San Antonio, a recent Texas House of Representatives report stated.

Ninety percent of the lockdowns were due to law enforcement chases of suspected smuggling vehicles through Uvalde and subsequent bailouts—where the driver crashes or stops the vehicle and occupants jump out and scatter from law enforcement, the report said.

The sheer increase in bailouts over the past 18 months and the subsequent lockdowns “contributed to a diminished sense of vigilance about responding to security alerts,” the Texas House report states.

“The series of bailout-related alerts led teachers and administrators to respond to all alerts with less urgency—when they heard the sound of an alert, many assumed that it was another bailout.”

Kenneth Mueller, director of student services for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) testified to the committee that parents became so concerned about the number of bailouts occurring near the elementary-school campuses that they offered to hire off-duty police to supplement the Uvalde CISD police presence.

A banner hangs on a fence outside Robb Elementary School, the site of a mass shooting on May 24, in Uvalde, Texas, on June 21, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Two months after the deadly massacre at Robb Elementary School, the school district is preparing for the beginning of a new year. But the Texas House review of law enforcement’s response to the May 24 shooting revealed a series of alarming failures by first responders. As a result, parents aren’t ready to send their kids back to a district they say is unsafe and where security problems remain unremedied.

“We’re 30 days from school starting and we’re having pursuits come through. We’re having bailouts—we had one this morning in Uvalde,” McLaughlin told The Epoch Times on July 12.

“And what’s going to happen when we have a bailout right by school and it has to go into lockdown? How much panic is there going to be? How much trauma is that going to cause these kids? A ton.”

Parents of children who were slain in the shooting have told the mayor they’re considering homeschooling their other children.

“I said I understand, but I can promise you from the city’s standpoint, we will do everything that we can to make sure your kids are safe,” McLaughlin said he told concerned parents.

The mayor has requested additional state troopers to be deployed to Uvalde for the first two weeks of the school year.

When asked if he thought some sort of “lockdown fatigue” existed at schools prior to the massacre, McLaughlin said, “I would think there would be, but I can’t speak for the school district.”

Epoch Times Photo
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin at a city council meeting in Uvalde, Texas, on June 21, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Tom Homan, former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Heritage Foundation fellow, said local communities are having to “bear the cost” of the escalating border crisis.

“Mass illegal migration was a contributing factor in the tragedy in Uvalde, and no one has said a word about it. That’s simply unacceptable,” Homan said in a statement.

The Uvalde district school board is proposing to delay the start of school until after Labor Day, instead of the original date in mid-August.

Charlotte Cuthbertson

Senior Reporter


Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.

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