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Robb Elementary School Principal Placed on Administrative Leave


The media follows Robb Elementary School principal Mandy Gutierrez | Image by CNN

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Mandy Gutierrez, principal of Robb Elementary School, where a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in May, was placed on paid administrative leave on Monday.

Gutierrez’s attorneys confirmed the news to multiple outlets, but no official reason why she was placed on leave has been released.

“I can confirm that Ms. Gutierrez was placed on administrative leave with pay today by Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell,” her attorney Ricardo Cedillo said. “Ms. Gutierrez has no further comment at this time.”

Gutierrez has worked in the Uvalde school district for over 20 years, but last year was her first as Robb Elementary’s principal. She was a fourth-grade teacher at Robb for ten years before becoming assistant principal in 2018.

In June, Gutierrez was one of many interviewed by the special Texas legislative committee formed in the wake of the shooting to give her account of the May 24 events.

“I’m just concerned for my families and kids,” Gutierrez told lawmakers at the time.

According to the committee’s recently released report, Gutierrez tried to initiate a lockdown on the day of the massacre after a report of a gunman on campus, “but she had difficulty making the alert because of a bad WiFi signal.”

Instead of using the intercom, she instructed a custodian to ensure all doors were locked.

The report also revealed that the school administration knew about security problems, including a door that did not lock, before the May 24 massacre. The report said that the gunman likely used the same door to get into one of the classrooms.

Despite knowing that there were issues with the door, no one placed a work order to have it repaired.

“There was a regrettable culture of noncompliance by school personnel who frequently propped doors open and deliberately circumvented locks,” the report reads. “At a minimum, school administrators and school district police tacitly condoned this behavior as they were aware of these unsafe practices and did not treat them as serious infractions requiring immediate correction.”

“In fact, the school actually suggested circumventing the locks as a solution for the convenience of substitute teachers and others who lacked their own keys,” it continues. “The school district did not treat the maintenance of doors and locks with appropriate urgency.”

Gutierrez is the latest person linked to the mass shooting to be placed on leave after Lt. Mariano Pargas, the acting police chief on duty the day of the incident, was placed on leave last week.

School Police Chief Pete Arredondo, one of the first responders on the scene, was placed on leave in June amid backlash over his decision not to order police to immediately breach the classroom where the gunman was fatally shooting the students and teachers.

Arredondo was initially placed on paid leave but was moved to unpaid leave last week.

Uvalde’s school board was scheduled to hold a special meeting on Saturday to discuss potentially terminating Arredondo’s employment with the school, but it was postponed. The board has yet to announce a new date for the special meeting.     

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