Unelected school inspector announces retirement


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Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Supt. Dr. Hal Harrell speaks during a news conference on June 9, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Photo by AP/Eric Gay

UVALDE, Texas (AP) – The superintendent of the Texas school district where a gunman killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers last May announced his retirement Monday, according to his wife’s Facebook page.

In the statement on Donna Goates Harrell’s Facebook page, Uvalde Schools Superintendent Hal Harrell said he would remain in office for the entirety of this school year until the school board hires his successor.

The Facebook post was first reported by CNN. The inspector asked his wife to “post this message as he doesn’t have Facebook.”

Harrell, the Uvalde school board and other school district officials have faced heavy criticism over the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School, in which officers allowed a shooter with an AR-15-style rifle to remain in a fourth-grade classroom for more than 70 minutes.

“My heart was broken on May 24th and I will always pray for every precious life that was tragically taken and their families,” the Facebook post said.

“My wife and I love all of you and this community that we both grew up in, so this decision was a difficult one for us. I have been blessed to work among amazing educators and staff who have believed in education for more than 30 years, all of which have been in our beautiful community. These next steps for our future are being taken after much consideration and are entirely my choice,” Harrell said in the post.

“I am truly grateful for your support and well wishes,” Harrell said.

The unelected school board was scheduled to discuss Harrell’s retirement plans at a meeting Monday night.

The announcement came a week after Uvalde school district officials suspended the school district’s entire police force. The move came a day after the district fired a former state trooper after she was revealed to not only have been on the Robb Elementary School campus during the May attack as a Texas state trooper, but was also under investigation for her actions on day.

That the developments all came a month into the new school year in the South Texas community underscores the ongoing pressure families of some of the 19 children and two teachers killed earlier this year have kept on the district.

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