In the aftermath of the tragic Uvalde shooting at Robb Elementary School last week that resulted in the death of 19 children and two teachers, one Texas father has been standing guard outside his daughter's elementary school every day.
A photo of Ed Chelby, the Texas father in question, has been circulating on social media as he stands outside Saegert Elementary. Chelby tells KWTX that he emailed the superintendent of Kileen Independent School District to ask if he could stand outside the elementary school—where his wife also works as a nurse—to keep an eye on its main entrance. To his surprise, the superintendent agreed that he could.
"You don't know if you should send your kid to school," he tells KWTX, sharing his anxiety over a potential copycat situation unfolding. "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."
Chelby has 11 years of experience with the U.S. Army in addition to having a security background. He says he felt he could keep the building safe by standing outside, unarmed, while easing the anxiety of fellow parents.
“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 said.
Eli Lopez, principal of Saegert Elementary, tells Newsweek that the community response to Chelby's eforts has been overwhelmingly appreciative for restoring some sense of security. He said parents have offered to drop off something to drink, and a mother approached him in tears to thank him for helping make her and her child feel safe while at school.
"A child should never have to worry for their safety as they come into school and Mr. Chelby helped ensure that sense of security the last two days of school after a horrific tragedy," said Lopez.
It's not yet clear how long he'll stand guard outside of the school, but he tells the station that he couldn't sleep and felt like he had to do something.
“I can’t let this go,” he said. “This is just a testament to the sleeplessness caused by the grief I experienced.”
He said he had already completed the paperwork necessary to work as a school volunteer, so he was more than happy to do this—much to the relief of fellow parents.
“I’ve had a lot of emotional people come up to me,” Chelby said. “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.’”
You can donate to the GoFundMe fundraisers for Uvalde victims and their families here.