education

Principal of Uvalde elementary school suspended in wake of deadly shooting


The principal of the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where an intruder shot dead 19 students and two teachers in May, has been suspended from her job.

Mandy Gutierrez of Robb elementary school was put on paid administrative leave on Monday, her attorney Ricardo Cedillo said in a statement to the Associated Press.

The Uvalde school district superintendent made the decision to place Gutierrez on leave, Cedillo said.

Gutierrez had worked in the Uvalde school district for more than two decades and was finishing her first year as principal when the killings there occurred, according to a preliminary investigative report released on 17 July by the Texas state legislature.

Cedillo did not provide any details on why Gutierrez was suspended.

The decision against Gutierrez is only the latest against an official in the wake of the report’s release.

After initially being put on paid leave as the report was being prepared, the Uvalde school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, saw his pay halted on Friday, five days after the report’s release.

The school board had called a meeting on Saturday to consider Arredondo’s firing but ultimately postponed it, citing “due process requirements” and a request from Arredondo’s attorney.

The 77-page report from the state legislature’s special investigative committee laid responsibility at Gutierrez and a school assistant for knowing that the lock on a classroom in which the massacre took place was not working but not getting it fixed.

In addition to the 21 people killed during the shooting, 17 were wounded.

Other parts of the report detailed several failures at various levels in the years leading up to the mass shooting at Robb as well as on the day of the massacre.

According to the special committee report, nearly 400 officers went to the elementary school as the shooting began, but a lack of coordination between law enforcement agencies meant police failed to confront the shooter quickly.

“In this crisis, no responder seized the initiative to establish an incident command post,” the committee wrote in its report.

“Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach the Uvalde [school district] chief of police or anyone else perceived to be in command to point out the lack of and need for a command post, or to offer that specific assistance.”

On Monday, the district school board also announced that the district school year would be pushed back to 6 September. The district intends to use the extra time to install additional security measures while also providing emotional and social support services, ABC News reported.



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