The mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas happened on May 24. Since then holding people accountable for the roles they played in the day’s events has been slow-walked for reasons unknown. In some cases, some people have been put on administrative leave or suspended from their jobs, yet no firings are happening. It is easy to get a sinking feeling that no one will really be held accountable and the status quo will remain in place.
Robb Elementary School Principal Mandy Gutierrez was placed on paid administrative leave on Monday. By Thursday she had been reinstated and returned to her job. Does a four-day paid administrative leave sound like being held accountable for her role in the day’s events? It doesn’t to me. It sounds like she had a little taxpayer-funded vacation. WTH? The reason she was put on administrative leave is that the findings in the Texas legislative committee report show a culture of nonconformance to safety policy at the school. She is the top person at the school, as the principal, and it falls on her to make sure that policies are carried out, especially when it comes to the safety of the students and teachers in the school.
On Wednesday, Gutierrez responded to the findings in that report issued by the Texas legislative committee. Their investigation found that she was aware of security problems but she refused to get them fixed. She was reported to be in her first year of working at the school. It seems to me that a person in her first year of top leadership in a school would want to prove herself and be very attentive to such matters as a door not locking properly for one of the classrooms the gunman entered, yet she didn’t get it fixed. A school principal should have a commitment to attention to details, especially in matters of school safety.
As Ed wrote about on Monday, the school had been hardened against active shooters, including locking systems that prevent people from the outside gaining access to the interior of the school and the students. However, Gutierrez and the staff undermined the hardening measures. For example, they propped open doors with rocks and door wedges to prevent them from locking. That should never have been allowed to develop into normal procedure.
Nonetheless, she is back at work after four days. Uvalde School Superintendent Hal Harrell sent her a letter acknowledging the end of her administrative leave.
School leader Mandy Gutierrez was allowed to return to work Thursday, according to a brief letter from Uvalde School Superintendent Hal Harrell. The quick reversal comes after Gutierrez contested findings in a Texas legislative committee report that criticized school security.
“Thank you for responding to our request for information by submitting your response to the House Investigative Report. As a result of our review, you will be allowed to return to work on this date (July 28, 2022),” Harrell wrote in the letter that was obtained by Fox News Digital.
Her attorney also told Fox News she was back at her job.
“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,” said lawyer Ricardo Cedillo.
In her response to the findings in the report, Gutierrez insisted she did nothing wrong.
Gutierrez denied those claims in a letter to the committee on Wednesday, writing that it is “unfair and inaccurate to conclude that I ever [became] complacent on any security issue of Robb Elementary.”
“I will live with the horror of these events for the rest of my life,” she wrote in the letter.
“I want to keep my job not only so that I can provide for my family, but so that I can continue to be on the front lines helping children who survived, the families of all affected, and the entire Uvalde community that I love and want to continue to protect.”
She wants to keep her job because she needs the paycheck? That is what it sounds like. Maybe we’ve found the problem. She’s putting in the time and not so concerned about the details of the job. She said she wants to “continue to protect” the children but she wasn’t fully protecting them. That is what the investigation found. The buck stops with her in that school.
As I said, all of this leaves a sinking feeling that the status quo will continue. Uvalde Schools Police Chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave without pay in June but he hasn’t been fired. No heads have rolled. Plenty need to. It’s not just all of the law enforcement officials that didn’t do their jobs and left those students to die in that classroom with two teachers, blame has to also be placed on those responsible for the safety of the children in the school. The principal failed them all and yet she’s back to work, business as usual.