Robb Elementary School principal issues response to Texas House report

UVALDE, Texas – Robb Elementary School Principal Mandy Gutierrez is telling her side of the story after the Texas House report said school officials were not adequately prepared for the risk of an armed intruder on campus.

In a statement issued through her attorney, Gutierrez addressed members of the House Investigative Committee.

Gutierrez confirmed that she was suspended with pay effective July 25, and said that she was given directives to follow during her suspension — including a request to submit clarifications to the July 17 report.

She addressed a number of concerns outlined in that report, including the locking mechanism on door 111, Wi-Fi limitations on campus, the failure to alert the campus through the school public address system and the characterization that the school had a “culture of complacency” due to frequent lockdowns.

Classroom 111 door

Gutierrez said the door to Room 111 was checked by custodial staff every evening to ensure that it was locked, including the evening before the shooting.

She also stated that the teacher has to unlock the door each morning and that he did so the morning of the shooting.

Gutierrez said the teacher complained “on more than one occasion that because the door DID lock, his work day was interrupted because the printer for several classrooms was located in that room.”

“This establishes that the door locks,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said the door did have to be forcefully shut to engage the locking mechanism but said that was common in an aged building and that “teachers know this and work around it.”

As for the teacher’s claim that he had complained about the door not locking for three years, Gutierrez inferred that because the teacher was “severely wounded and has undergone a tremendous ordeal,” his memory might not add clarity.

“I point out that I am in my first year as principal, and my predecessor has no recollection or record of those complaints,” Gutierrez stated.

Wi-Fi limitations

Gutierrez said that the school does have spotty Wi-Fi service but said that did not prevent the Raptor telephone app from notifying teachers that day.

“I encountered buffering and did what I always do. I went to a window and held my phone up. At the same time I called UCISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo. He picked up the phone and was already aware of the Raptor alert, saying to me before I uttered a single word, ‘Shut it down, Mandy. Shut it down.’”

Gutierrez said, “The fact that (the teacher in charge of Room 111) doesn’t recall (getting the Raptor alert) does not mean that he did not receive the alert on his cellphone.”

She said video from inside the classroom could shed light on that.

Campus PA system

Gutierrez said it was true that she did not use the campus public address system because she had not been trained to use it in “these situations” saying she was trained that the PA system could create panic among students and alert the gunman.

Culture of Complacency

Gutierrez told committee members that she “wholeheartedly” denied that there was complacency on her part and said she had been given an “Accomplished” rating in a performance review for creating a safe school environment.

“I want to keep my job”

Gutierrez said the Uvalde CISD would make a decision about her employment following a performance review and told the investigative committee that she planned to fight for her job.

“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 protect.”

“I will live with the horror of these events for the rest of my life,” Gutierrez said.

Uvalde CISD officials have yet to confirm Gutierrez’s suspension, but did tell KSAT this week that the district “follows a practice of not addressing personnel matters.”

“Please understand information will not be released on Pete Arredondo and Mandy Gutierrez,” the district spokesperson said.

The school board placed Police Chief Arredondo on leave in June.

The board planned to meet last Saturday to consider Arredondo’s termination but posted a statement to the school district’s website on Friday, saying that the meeting was delayed at the request of Arredondo’s attorney.

Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Dustin Burrows, the committee’s chairman, sent a statement to KSAT saying that he had not seen Gutierrez’s response but he indicated that he stood by the committee’s findings.

“I have not received the letter Ms. Gutierrez claims to have sent. The committee relied upon the testimony of interviews of multiple employees of the Uvalde CISD (including staff and administration) and the Uvalde CISD Police Department in coming to its conclusions related to the practices that took place at Robb Elementary School,” Burrows said.

Read Gutierrez’s full response to the Texas House Interim Investigative Committee:

Also on KSAT:

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