Protective Papa

A Texas Dad Has Been Standing Guard Outside His Daughter’s School Every Day Since The Uvalde Shooting

‘I can’t let this go... This is just a testament to the sleeplessness caused by the grief I experienced.’

White crosses for those killed in the Robb Elementary mass shooting. A father in a neighboring Texas...
The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

A concerned father is taking matters into his own hands after the devastating mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

Ed Chelby has been standing guard outside of Saegert Elementary — where his daughter is a student and his wife works as a school nurse — during the day, telling local news outlets that he asked the superintendent for permission to stand outside the school’s front entrance before taking up the post. —“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.

To Chelby’s surprise, the superintendent was on board, and now the father is making sure anyone who walks through the front doors is supposed to be there.

“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.’”

Chelby has 11 years of U.S. Army experience under his belt and a background in security, and he was already in the process of becoming a volunteer for the school and in the midst of a background check when he made the request.

“I can’t let this go,” said Chelby, “This is just a testament to the sleeplessness caused by the grief I experienced.”

Samantha Longfeather-Locke, a mother of a student who who first posted the photo of Chelby standing guard outside the elementary school told KWTX that she shared the photo because “The world needed to know what he was doing because I feel that, that’s sparking some sort of change to start.”

“Him standing in front of the school, that’s reassuring — feeling that we get to go home and see our families this summer,” said Longeather-Locke.

Eli Lopez, the principal of Saegert Elementary, confirmed to Newsweek that Chelby’s presence has been overwhelmingly positive.

"A child should never have to worry for their safety as they come in to school and Mr. Chelby helped ensure that sense of security the last two days of school after a horrific tragedy," said Lopez.

Many parents are appreciative of the gesture, and others can sign up for the post — and Chelby’s ability to transform sleepless grief into a positive form of action is inspiring.

But it is worth reiterating that Chelby shouldn’t have to be doing this in the first place. It is worth remembering, as heavy as it is, that mass shootings keep happening; 28 more shootings have happened since the Uvalde tragedy. While Chelby’s gesture is moving and important, politicians and those in power need to take action next.