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Principal of Robb Elementary is put on paid leave two months after Uvalde mass shooting

By Uriel J. García, The Texas Tribune

Principal of Robb Elementary is put on paid leave two months after Uvalde mass shooting” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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The principal of Robb Elementary in Uvalde, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers two months ago, was placed on leave with pay on Monday, according to the principal’s lawyer.

Ricardo Cedillo, a San Antonio-based lawyer for Principal Mandy Gutierrez, didn’t say why his client was placed on leave by Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell. He said Gutierrez “will be responding to questions posed by Superintendent Harrell before the end of the week.”

According to an interim report by a state House committee that investigated the May 24 shooting, Gutierrez and others at the school knew the lock for Room 111, where the gunman entered and killed most of his victims, wasn’t working properly. The teacher in that classroom, Arnulfo Reyes, had reported to school officials that his classroom door didn’t always lock properly but no one prepared a work order to have it fixed, the report says.

Reyes was shot and wounded in the attack.

The report also says Gutierrez never attempted to use the school’s intercom system to warn teachers and students that a gunman had entered the school. She told the committee that she used an app called Raptor to initiate a lockdown “but she had difficulty making the alert because of a bad wifi signal,” the report says.

Reyes told the committee he didn’t recall receiving an alert about the gunman.

The House report detailed numerous security failures by school staff that allowed the gunman to quickly enter the school. It also faulted hundreds of law enforcement officers who arrived at the school but waited more than an hour to confront the gunman, who was finally shot to death by a U.S. Border Patrol tactical unit.

Gutierrez is the third local official and the first school administrator to be suspended since the state House report was released on July 17. Uvalde police Lt. Mariano Pargas, who was the city’s acting police chief the day of the massacre, was placed on leave the day of the report’s release by the city manager.

Pete Arredondo, the chief of the school district’s police department who has borne much of the blame for the delay in confronting the shooter, is on unpaid leave; a scheduled school board meeting to decide whether to fire him was postponed last weekend.

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