2023 Gather Award in Community-Centered Journalism, Overall Excellence, Medium/Large Newsroom finalist

Uvalde school shooting and its aftermath

About the Project

On May 24, 2022, Robb Elementary School in Uvalde was the site of the second-deadliest K-12 school shooting in United States history.

Public Education reporter Brian Lopez spent time with the families as they sent their children back to school for the first time since the tragedy. In addition to sharing the stories of the families and children as they faced this momentous occasion, he also reported that the school district had delayed the start of the school year to increase security measures. By the time the day arrived, one elementary had a new, unscalable fence and the high school had a new camera system in place.

Weeks of local reporting by our photojournalist, Evan L’Roy, led to a thoughtful feature story about murals in town that celebrate the victims’ lives. This project ran the same week as an investigative accountability story — and Uvalde residents told us they were glad we reported from both angles.

Uriel J. Garcia, our immigration reporter based out of El Paso, has kept up with the victim’s families. As they begged, pleaded and demanded change during the midterms, Garcia wrote about their disappointment come election night. The families watch Uvalde Leader-News reporters update results on a white board in the street, late into the night.

He told stories of family forgoing holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, to celebrate Día de los Muertos. Honoring their daughters, brothers and friends who were senselessly murdered on May 24.

To mark one year since this tragedy, The Texas Tribune convened the community for a half-day event, hosted by Southwest Texas Junior College, featuring parents who experienced loss, plus mental health experts, faith leaders and educators. The event focused on recovery, resilience and healing.