July 26 – The principal of a Texas elementary school where a gunman went on a rampage in May has been suspended with pay, her attorney said on Tuesday, two weeks after a damning report about lax security allowed the gunman to carry out the attack.
Mandy Gutierrez, the principal at Robb Elementary School, was placed on administrative leave by Uvalde School District Superintendent Hal Harrell on Monday, her attorney Ricardo Cedillo.
He gave no specific reason for the suspension, which comes two months after the massacre that killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers.
The shooting opened a new wave of debate about the easy access to guns enjoyed by Texans and many other Americans.
“Ms. Gutierrez has no further comment at this time,” he said.
The suspension follows the release of a report on the Texas Legislative Committee’s investigation into the May 24 shooting. Gutierrez, who was in her first year as the school’s principal, was found to be aware of security issues at the school.
“Robb Elementary had a culture of not following security policies that required doors to be locked, which proved fatal,” the report said, noting that the shooter easily entered the school through unlocked doors.
The report, which marked the most exhaustive attempt yet to find out why it took police more than an hour to confront and kill the 18-year-old gunman, said “systemic failures” and poor leadership contributed to the death toll.
The report said Gutierrez and other employees knew the lock on the door to Room 111 — where the shooting took place — wasn’t working properly, but they didn’t put in a work order to fix it. That broken lock allowed the shooter to easily enter the classroom, it said.
“Had the door to room 111 been locked, the attacker would likely have been slowed for some time,” the report said.
In addition to Gutierrez, the school district suspended its police chief, Pete Arredondo, who has been criticized for his handling of the shooting.