© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Uvalde's Robb Elementary principal placed on administrative leave

An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday.
Patricia Lim / KUT
An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24, 2022.

The principal of Robb Elementary school in Uvalde has been suspended with pay. At Monday night’s Uvalde school board meeting, several members of the community demanded accountability.

“This district needs to clean house. The issues that brought us to May 24 are deeply rooted, long standing, and we need change. We are asking you, the school board members, to do your jobs,” a Uvalde resident said during the public comment session.

And before the night was over, word began to filter out that the principal of Robb Elementary, Mandy Gutierrez, had been placed on administrative leave with pay.

A report on the shooting from a Texas House subcommittee highlighted issues with Gutierrez’s performance — including that she knew the lock for the classroom where the gunman killed most of his victims wasn't working properly, but no one prepared a work order to have it fixed.

Gutierrez’s attorney Ricardo Cedillo has no statement on her behalf at this time, but says he may within the next day or so.

The Uvalde school board did unanimously pass a resolution asking the governor to call a special session to do something about the kinds of guns used in the shooting at Robb Elementary. Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell recommended the resolution to the board.

“A tragedy occurred in our community at Robb School, taking the lives of 19 students and teachers with a rifle that an 18 year old could walk in and purchase,” Harrell said.

He added that the resolution should encourage Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session of the Texas legislature to raise the minimum age at which a person can buy a semi-automatic weapon — like the AR-15 used in the Robb Elementary shooting — from 18 to 21.

"There's no reason for an 18 year old to have something like that,” Harrell said.

The board unanimously passed the resolution to applause from those present.

The board also agreed to move the first day of school from Aug. 15 to Sept. 6, giving the district extra time to improve security and put programs in place to support the children emotionally when they return to school.

With regard to security, Harrell shared plans to create single points of entry at Uvalde schools that don't currently have one. He also said the district will install new fences using a company that constructs eight foot fences that cannot be climbed. Other security measures include hiring 10 additional district police officers and adding metal detectors at each school.

There was some tension at Monday night's meeting. During the open forum during which which community members were allowed to speak, more than a dozen people walked out when a woman began speaking in support of the district. They chanted "no justice, no peace," echoing the grandmother of one of the children killed at Robb, Amerie Jo Garza. Berlinda Arreola spoke earlier in the forum, demanding accountability from the school board and warning that her family and those of the other 20 victims would pull their children from Uvalde schools if changes weren't made.

The next open forum will be held on Aug. 8.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Education News Desk, including H-E-B Helping Here, Betty Stieren Kelso Foundation and Holly and Alston Beinhorn.