Mandy Gutierrez, principal of Robb Elementary School in Texas, was suspended with pay on Monday, her attorney, Ricardo Cedillo, confirmed to ABC News.
A special legislative inquiry into the May 24 school massacre found that Gutierrez knew about security concerns before a gunman gained access to the school – killing 19 students and two teachers – but she had no not solved the problems.
District officials declined to discuss the suspension or what it means.
Gutierrez joins School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, still on unpaid administrative leave. The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District recommended Arredondo’s dismissal.
The leader was singled out for a series of catastrophic failures in leading the police response to the massacre which ignored the possibility that children and teachers could be saved if the armed teenager had been confronted and neutralized, as the requires standard police protocol.
News of Gutierrez’s suspension began circulating just before a regular school board meeting on Monday night. During the session, the board announced that the 2022-23 school year will begin Sept. 6 as the district implements a series of safety improvements and provisions for emotional and social support services.
Before authorities announced their plans, the council was again greeted by family members of the shooting victims, as well as other community residents troubled by the way district leaders have acted. since May 24.
“These parents are still hurting. And they want answers,” Daniel Myers, a pastor, told the council.
Uvalde: 365 is an ABC News continuing series reported from Uvalde and focused on the Texas community and how it continues in the shadow of tragedy.
Brett Cross, father of Uziyah Garcia, who was killed in the massacre, pointed to board members, saying only one of those present had contacted his family. He asked someone on the board to take responsibility for the failures that allowed the shooting to happen in the first place and for how the district handled the aftermath.
“You care more about yourselves than our children,” Cross told the board. “Why haven’t you still taken responsibility for your mess? Can any of you look me straight in the eye and say, ‘Listen, have we screwed up?'”
Finally, board member Luis Fernandez confessed that “everyone was wrong”.
“So, let’s recap: two months later… nothing has changed,” Belinda Arreola told the board. “We’re banging our heads against a brick wall once again, demanding answers and accountability… We’re not going anywhere because it’s always something.”
“I don’t think any security measures will ease our hearts and minds,” Tracy Byrd said, pointing to the heavy loss of life, despite the heavy response from law enforcement. The board did not respond.
Among the announced security improvements, Wi-Fi and communication issues identified by investigators would be audited starting Tuesday. Authorities are also looking for an interim district police chief, and the district police force will be reorganized. Other improvements announced were that new video camera systems arrived and are being installed this week, and vestibules and school access points are being reviewed by consultants and limited.
The district’s Raptor security system is being overhauled to make emergency alerts clearer to users. The district also requested that 30 to 40 state troopers be on hand to assist on the first day of school.
Among the announced social and emotional support will be an additional five licensed counselors, one per campus, as well as telemedicine to include psychiatric and counseling services through the UT Health System. It was also announced that the district will use the Rhithm app, a morning assessment to ask students how they are doing and feeling, and that parent support will be available through the bereavement center, to include one-on-one support available for any person in the community in need.