Hi Friend,
It has been a challenging week for us as Texans and parents. What happened in Uvalde, TX, at Robb Elementary School was tragic and heartbreaking. Beautiful, young lives were taken from this world in a heinous manner. It is hard to fathom the struggles that the children who survived this situation and witnessed their friends murdered will go through today and for the rest of their lives.

As a parent of a fourth-grader who just celebrated the end of the school year, the beginning of summer break was more somber than in prior years. The thought of him not coming home from school one day because a deranged individual made his way into his classroom and murdered him and 18 of his friends in cold blood is horrifying. I can’t imagine the anguish of the families suffering this colossal loss. 

After tragic events like this, there are calls for prayer and action. We pause and mourn for the victims and those who knew and loved them. We pray for peace and wisdom during a difficult time and sit in stillness to soak in the loss and realize the value and fragileness of life. We all deserve a moment to grieve and take the necessary steps to recenter ourselves after tragedies.

We then sort through the facts and dig deep enough into what happened to try and prevent it from happening again. We all agree and have a valid demand that our schools be safe places for our children to attend and expect every day they are there that they will return home safely. The debate occurs and often breaks down based on how we achieve this. Some will criticize the mourner and demand actions without the facts. This is not how leaders lead.

New facts are still emerging regarding what occurred. Based on current timelines provided by DPS and Texas Rangers, shots were first fired at the suspect's grandmother’s home a few blocks away from Robb Elementary School. He fled the scene in the grandmother’s truck and wrecked it outside the school at 11:28 am. At 11:30 am, someone called 911 and reported the wreck and the man with a gun. The individual fired at two witnesses at a funeral home across the street and walked towards the school. He fired multiple times at the school building before entering the school at approximately 11:40 am. He walked the hall to an open classroom and opened fire in the classroom.

At 11:44 am, both Uvalde and Uvalde CISD police arrive. It is not until almost an hour later that a U.S. Border Patrol tactical team arrives to make entry and kill the suspect. We heard rumors that a School Resource Officer confronted the suspect before entering the school, but that is not yet confirmed. 

There are three main components to this situation: the individual who committed the crime (the 18-year-old who felt compelled to carry out this act), the weapon or multiple weapons used in the crime, and the school where the victims were. 

Mental health continues to be at a crisis level in America, and we find it impacting communities of all kinds in rural, urban, and suburban areas. How we identify and treat those with mental illness will need to continue to be a focus. Access to affordable, quality healthcare in every corner of Texas shouldn’t only be for physical health; it also needs to be for mental health. As we learn more about this individual, we will know more about what we need to look at when identifying someone willing to carry out this type of terror. 

The weapons used are reported to be two semi-automatic rifles and a lot of ammo. We should examine whose weapons they were, how they were purchased, and how they were secured. As an 18-year-old, he would not have had much of a background to check. So, if he did buy them himself, that likely would not have prevented him from buying the weapons. Some are calling for a change to the minimum age required to purchase these firearms or a complete ban on these types of firearms. I believe it ignores that most Texans who lawfully own a rifle for their self-defense or hunting cause no harm to others.

Why did this individual target the school, how did he gain entry, and how long does it take law enforcement to enter and neutralize the situation? We must take further steps to secure our schools. I had lunch last week with my fourth-grader at his elementary school, and the process was pretty tedious. The idea that a backdoor would have been open for me to gain entry is unfathomable and should be prevented at all our schools. Emergency exits still allow for easy exiting while preventing outside intruders. 

As we learn specifics from the investigation, we will have a better idea of how to prevent this from occurring again in the future. Prior actions taken by the Texas Legislature include:
  • Establishing the School Marshal Program: a voluntary program that school districts can adopt and implement to put school marshals on campus to prevent these types of crimes from occurring. School marshals must be licensed and complete an 80-hour school marshal program before applying with Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) to be at a school.
  • School district peace officers and school resource officers can be placed in schools or assigned in the district and must complete an active shooter response training program.
  • School districts must have active threat plans in place and conduct safety and security audits every three years.
  • School districts are required to conduct two lockdown drills per year.
  • Every school must have a behavioral threat assessment team. While the team at Robb Elementary would not have interacted with this student, the high school he attended may have.
The next legislative session won’t begin until January of 2023. Between now and then, it will be important for us to work with TEA, DPS, and local school districts to ensure all measures are in place and are properly executed to protect our children. In addition, the Robb Elementary Memorial Fund has been set up for families in need in the Uvalde, TX community. Those interested in donating to the families impacted directly by this tragedy are welcome to make a contribution there. 
This last week, Jacob graduated 8th grade and Calob graduated 4th grade. Fanny and I are proud of their efforts this school year and extend congratulations to all the rest of the parents and children that successfully completed another school year. In the midst of our grief over the tragedy in Uvalde, it’s also time for us to spend meaningful quality time with our own kids this summer, ensuring there are plenty of hugs, laughs, and growth, in preparation for the next school year.

We hope you all have safe summers beginning with this Memorial Day weekend, a time when we remember the brave men and women who served our military and made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our people and way of life. This experiment that started in 1776 with a simple constitution that restricted government and protected the rights of the individual continues to bear the fruit of liberty and freedom that has made possible this American Dream. Thank you to those that laid down their life for our country and the families that endured that sacrifice. 
Let us know your thoughts!
Our goal is to communicate effectively, with authenticity and simplicity, so that Texans know what and why things are happening, and how to make a difference in their community. We want to empower you with the right information to make things better for yourself, your family, and your neighbors. We will continue to work on this and we want to hear from you about how we can improve on any of the things discussed above.
Jacey Jetton
State Representative
Texas House District 26

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1108 Soldiers Field Dr, Ste 100
Sugar Land, TX 77479
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