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#schoolsafety | Senate committee holds public hearing on school safety

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Texas Senate committee will meet Tuesday to hear from the public for the first time regarding school safety, police training and social media nearly a month after the Uvalde school shooting.

On May 24, 19 students and two teachers were shot and killed by an 18-year-old gunman at Robb Elementary School. Law enforcement has been scrutinized in the aftermath of the shooting, after it was revealed authorities inside the school waited about an hour before breaching a classroom and killing the gunman.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wrote on Twitter Tuesday, “the TX Senate begins public hearings on latest DPS investigations on Uvalde & other topics. The Senate believes all testimony should be in the open. The families & the public have a right to know.”

Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott called for the creation of special committees to address school safety and mental health after the tragedy.

The Senate committee’s hearing will begin at 9 a.m. and will be streamed in this story and on Facebook.

A Texas House investigative committee will also hold a meeting Tuesday morning — this one closed to the public — to hear from responding law enforcement in the shooting. Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who helped conduct the shooting response while the gunman was inside the building, is expected to testify during that hearing.

Last month, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety Steven McCraw called waiting to breach the classroom “the wrong decision,” and now some parents in the Uvalde school system want Arredondo fired.

In an interview with the Texas Tribune, Arredondo defended his response during the shooting, saying, “not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children. We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced.”

On Monday, Democratic members of the Texas Senate called for approval of four gun safety measures in the wake of the shooting. The group would like to raise the minimum age to buy certain guns to 21, require background checks, a 72-hour waiting period for specific weapons and red flag laws. 

However, Chairman Matt Rinaldi of the Republican Party of Texas said in an interview with WFAA in Dallas they “don’t support any new restrictions of gun laws because we don’t think it will make Texans safer.”

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