Uvalde elementary school principal placed on leave after massacre

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 8:25 PM MST
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UVALDE, Texas (AP) - The attorney for the principal of the Texas elementary school where a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers says the principal has been placed on administrative leave.

Mandy Gutierrez’s attorney Ricardo Cedillo of San Antonio says Uvalde school Superintendent Hal Harrell placed the Robb Elementary School principal on paid administrative leave Monday.

A legislative committee blamed Gutierrez and an assistant for knowing a lock to the classroom where the killings happened May 24 wasn’t working. The committee concluded the shooter likely entered the room through that unlocked door.

In the wake of the massacere, the Uvalde school system has taken blame for basic security failures — unlocked doors, a spotty alert system and lax enforcement of rules. An investigative report by the Texas Legislature found the district did not treat maintenance issues like broken doors and locks with urgency.

The House committee found “a regrettable culture of noncompliance by school personnel who frequently propped doors open and deliberately circumvented locks” at Robb Elementary. The report said school administrators and district police tacitly condoned the behavior, noting that the school suggested the practice “for the convenience of substitute teachers and others who lacked their own keys.”

Also Monday, the district school board approved a three-week postponement of the start of the district school year until Sept. 6.

There has been mounting public pressure and growing impatience for accountability after police body camera footage and a damning report revealed how officers waited in the school hallway for more than 70 minutes instead of confronting the gunman inside a fourth-grade classroom.

Nearly 400 officers rushed to the scene of the school during the shooting, according to findings by a Texas House committee.

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