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Uvalde schools suspends police force after bungled shooting response

#Uvalde #schools #suspends #police #force #bungled #shooting #response

The education board that oversees schools in the Texas town of Uvalde on Friday suspended the police force whose bungled response to a horrific mass shooting has been widely criticised.

Nineteen young children and two teachers were killed when a teenage gunman went on a rampage at Robb Elementary School on May 24 in America’s worst school shooting in a decade. Police eventually shot and killed the gunman.

Police in Uvalde have been under intense scrutiny since it emerged that more than a dozen officers waited for over an hour outside classrooms where the shooting was taking place and did nothing as children lay dead or dying inside.

On Friday the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District said it was suspending the small police force that has responsibility for safety and security in the handful of public schools under its aegis.

“As a result of the recent developments… the district has made the decision to suspend all activities of the Uvalde CISD Police Department for a period of time,” a statement said.

“Officers currently employed will fill other roles in the district.”

In August the school board sacked the district police chief who oversaw the response to the shooting.

The district said a review into officers’ responses to the tragedy would continue.

“The district has requested the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide additional troopers for campus and extra-curricular activities. 

“We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition.”

A total of 376 officers — border guards, state police, city police, local sheriff departments and elite forces — responded to the massacre, a Texas state lawmakers’ report said in July.

But the situation was “chaotic” due to the officers’ “lackadaisical approach” to subduing the gunman, the report charged.

School shootings have become a totemic reminder of the United States’ paralysis over guns.

A majority of voters favor stricter controls on the use and purchase of firearms, but the country’s political class has proved unwilling to respond in any meaningful way, citing a constitutional “right to bear arms.” 

In June reform advocates notched a limited victory with the passage of legislation that demands enhanced background checks for younger buyers and provides federal cash for states introducing “red flag” laws that allow courts to temporarily remove weapons from those considered a threat.

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