As a college child development professor, I occasionally encountered a student with a learning disability. It was rare because most learning disabilities are detected in elementary school. I was always left wondering, how did this student graduate from high school and no one ever caught this?
I wondered the same about the Uvalde shooter. Why did he get teased for his speech, but was never provided speech therapy? In third grade, he was labeled as “at-risk” due to poor test scores.1 His mother complained to his teacher about his being bullied in fourth grade. The teacher claims it was dealt with, but former classmates indicated that the bullying continued. Several weeks before the shooting, he discussed with acquaintances bad memories from 4th grade.1 Does the fact that he returned to his 4th grade classroom to start shooting tell us anything? Is it possible that the Uvalde shooter was also a victim?
How did he miss over 100 days of school for several years in high school, but was never addressed by the school attendance review board? Could it be the last time the mother went to the school for help was way back in fourth grade?
As a mom, educator, grandma, and mother-in-law to a law enforcement officer, I’ve been very engaged in this shooting as written about in two earlier posts, Class of 2030 Missing 19 and Uvalde Grandma is a Victim Too. I was too shocked to read the 81-page report it at one time – I read it in sections. The report indicated that the 18-year-old would be referred to as “the attacker,” not his real name.2 He wanted notoriety. They wouldn’t give it to him. How can they give him notoriety when he’s dead? His real notoriety should be that educators for years and years ignored this young man’s pleas for help.
This 18-year-old teenager had a name and people who loved him. Fox News is the only headline that even counted him in the death count. Uvalde, Texas school shooting leaves 19 children, 3 adults, including shooter dead.3 His name is Salvador Ramos.
“He exhibited almost every warning sign,” John Cohen, an ABC News contributor and the former acting undersecretary for intelligence and counterterrorism coordinator at the Department of Homeland Security, said in an interview. “This guy should have been on everybody’s radar.”4
He’s right. He should have been on everyone’s radar. How did he manage to stay in school as long as he did? Why did no one intervene on his behalf? We can do better. We must do better as educators and parents What child or student are you missing on your radar?
- Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting, Texas House of Representatives, Interim Report 2022, July 17, 2022, p. 33 https://static.texastribune.org/media/files
- IIbid, p. 31.
- Fox News, Louis Casiano and Lawrence Richard, 2022-05-24. https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2614164652037/uvalde-texas-school-shooting-leaves-19-children-3-adults-including-shooter-dead
- Uvalde shooter exhibited ‘almost every warning sign,’ expert says. The alleged shooter showed a pattern of warning signs. Nadine El-Bawab, July 20, 2022. https://abcnews.go.com/US/uvalde-shooter-exhibited-warning-sign-expert/story?id=87064502