After Uvalde Shooting, This Veteran Dad Stands Guard Outside His Daughter's Texas Elementary School

Army veteran Ed Chelby needed to know his family was safe. He makes sure by standing watch, unarmed, at the school his daughter attends, where his wife is also a school nurse.

Young girls pay their respects at a memorial to the victims of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting on May 28, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.
Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The nation is still processing the collective trauma and grief of the Uvalde Elementary School massacre that ended in the tragic loss of 19 children and two teachers.

Ed Chelby, an army vet and father who lives in Killeen, Texas, was one of the millions of parents disturbed by the news of an active shooter at an elementary school. He decided to stand guard at Saegert Elementary, where his daughter attends school and his wife is the school nurse. He was restless after the news and wanted to be sure his family was safe for the remainder of the school year.

"I said I would just be out there unarmed to let people know that I'm watching. Let the parents have a little bit of relief," Chelby told KWTX. He sent an email to the superintendent at Killeen ISD requesting to stand guard, weapon-free, in front of the school's main entrance.

His request was granted. He stands there, verifying everyone who enters the school has permission to enter the building. In a way, Chelby was perfect for the job—he has more than a decade of experience providing security in the United States Army.

This Texas father isn't the only parent seeking peace of mind in the tragic news of the Uvalde massacre. Parents are looking to local and federal representatives for solutions to ensure it doesn't happen again. The Uvalde shooting happened almost 10 years after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, where 26 people, mostly young children, were killed in Newtown, Connecticut. It was also less week after a gunman murdered 10 Black people—mostly community elders—in a racist hate crime in a Buffalo, New York supermarket.

"I can't let this go," says Chelby, "This is just a testament to the sleeplessness caused by the grief I experienced." Chelby knows his presence doesn't just benefit his wife and daughter. It benefits the entire community. "I've had a lot of emotional people come up to me," Chelby told KWTX. "They didn't want to send their kids to school. They struggled with sending their kids to school. And I told them, I was like, 'I got them.'"

Black families, like all families across the country, are seeking solutions to keep their families safe in a nation that has done too little to stop gun violence. Now, wondering if their children are safe is another item on a laundry list of concerns. Chelby shouldn't have to stand watch. But he says it's the best way to know his family and others' loved ones are safe.

"We all struggle with that. You don't know if you should send your kid to school. You want them to get their education and their experience of the last days of school, but you want to protect them with everything you got," said Chelby.

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