AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott’s office announced Wednesday that it is giving $1.25 million to the Uvalde school district for counseling and other trauma-informed care for students and faculty affected by the Robb Elementary School shooting.
The grant is the latest state funding for a community shaken by the May 24 mass shooting that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers. Abbott’s office had already provided $5 million to Uvalde County to set up a long-term resiliency center, and state leadership sent an additional $5 million to the area’s regional mental health district.
“As the community of Uvalde continues to heal, Texas continues working to help improve security and aid in the recovery among students and educators,” Abbott said in a news release. “This new source of funding will provide critical support to students, staff and faculty in Uvalde as they continue to process the trauma from that day and grieve for the innocent lives lost.”
The funding from the governor’s Public Safety Office will establish a counseling program for Uvalde Consolidated ISD that will include community outreach, crisis intervention and support services for students and faculty traumatized by the shooting.
Local political leaders have criticized one of the state-funded efforts: the resiliency center that is being managed by the Uvalde County district attorney’s office. Uvalde’s state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, has said it’s not providing adequate assistance for victims and their families.
“I appreciate the $1.25 million grant,” Gutierrez said Wednesday. “That’s really helpful. But we need caseworkers. Caseworkers for those 32 (victims’) families so they can figure out how to get back on track with life.”
Mental health has been a key focus of Abbott’s response to the shooting, with the governor spotlighting the issue almost immediately after the crisis. Unlike previous mass shootings at Santa Fe High School in 2018 and an El Paso Walmart in 2019, Abbott has not proposed new restrictions on gun ownership, such as red flag laws.
So far, Abbott has only encouraged local prosecutors to be more vigilant in enforcing firearm restrictions already on the books, such as so-called lie-and-try laws that made it a felony to falsify information on background check forms.
State leadership, including the governor, reallocated $105.5 million in state education funding in response to the Uvalde shooting. At the urging of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, nearly half went to equip police with bulletproof tactical shields.
About $12 million was allocated toward statewide mental health resources for schools, including $5.8 million to expand a mental health telemedicine program.
The Biden administration sent $1.5 million to Uvalde Consolidated ISD on June 13 for mental health services for students and staff.