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Tensions run high at Uvalde school board meeting as interim superintendent named

Hal Harrell
Posted at 3:10 PM, Oct 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-20 17:33:51-04

UVALDE, Texas — Tensions ran high during the Uvalde school board's meeting Wednesday.

The board was meeting to discuss the retirement of the school district's superintendent, Hal Harrell, who announced in a Facebook post last week that he was retiring.

Harrell has been embroiled in controversy since a gunman killed 19 kids and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in May.

According to The Texas Tribune, things got heated when residents and victims' families weren't allowed to make public comments.

As residents began talking, the board’s lawyer and board members interrupted them, stating that they had not signed up to make public comments, the newspaper reported.

According to KSAT-TV, that's when the board abruptly went into a closed session.

According to the newspaper, board members came out of its closed session three hours later and announced that Gary Patterson had been named interim superintendent.

Initially, Harrell planned to stay on as superintendent throughout the year, but that won't happen now since the board named Patterson interim.

The board did not reveal details about Harrell's departure, nor when Patterson would begin as interim, the newspaper reported.

Harrell is the latest school official to depart the district since the May 24 shooting.

District officials suspended its entire district police force three days before Harrell announced his retirement.

On Oct. 6, school officials fired Crimson Elizondo, a former law enforcement agent they recently hired to be the district's police officer, after it became public that she was one of the first Texas state troopers to arrive at the deadly shooting.

The district dismissed Police Chief Pete Arredondo three months after an inadequate response by law enforcement to the mass shooting, the Associated Press reported.