Robb Elementary School Principal Suspended Over Mass Shooting

A preliminary report claims the principal knew about Robb Elementary’s security issues but didn’t address them before the May 24 massacre.

Robb Elementary School Principal Suspended Over Mass Shooting

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UPDATE JULY 28, 2020: After pushing back on many of the claims of a preliminary report that harshly criticized Robb Elementary School Principal Mandy Gutierrez’s and law enforcement’s response to the school’s May 24 mass shooting, the principal was reinstated to her job on Thursday.

“Ms. Gutierrez’s Administrative Leave With Pay has been lifted and she has been fully reinstated to her position, where she will continue to discharge her duties and continue to serve all the families of the UCISD,” her attorney, Ricardo Cedillo told CBS News in a statement.

Gutierrez denied she knew about and failed to fix the lock to one of the classrooms where the shooting happened. She also said she was trained to not announce the lockdown over the campus intercom. Gutierrez also denied allegations the school was complacent about campus security.

ORIGINAL JULY 26, 2022 ARTICLE:

Uvalde, Texas – Robb Elementary School Principal Mandy Gutierrez was placed on paid administrative leave on Monday by Uvalde School District Superintendent Hal Harrell.

The suspension comes two weeks after the release of a scathing preliminary report on the May 24 Robb Elementary School mass shooting that found “systemic failures and egregious poor decision-making” by nearly everyone involved who was in a position of power.

According to the study, Gutierrez knew about Robb Elementary’s security problems but didn’t address the issues before the mass shooting on her campus that killed 19 students and two teachers. She was in her first year as a principal.

The committee’s report found that the school did not adequately prepare for the risk of an armed intruder. The gunman was able to jump a five-foot exterior fence and “there was a regrettable culture of noncompliance by school personnel,” who frequently ignored security procedures by propping doors open and deliberately circumventing locks, the report said.

Robb Elementary’s policy required that outside doors be locked at all times but none of the three doors into the school’s west building were locked, giving the gunman unimpeded access. Employees often left doors propped open using rocks, wedges and magnets — partly because of a shortage of keys.

The report also found some faculty and staff did not initially take the intruder alert seriously due to alarm fatigue associated with a recent increase in “bailouts,” which is a common occurrence in border towns where human traffickers try to “outrun the police, usually ending with the smuggler crashing the vehicle and the passengers fleeing in all directions.”

In response to the tragedy, Uvalde officials say they will be improving school security before the new academic year, which begins on September 6. The upgrades include bulletproof windows and hiring 10 additional police officers for district campuses, reports CNN. 

Gutierrez’s attorney didn’t give a specific reason why she was placed on administrative leave, reports Reuters. She joins District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was previously placed on unpaid administrative leave over his department’s response to the mass shooting.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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