Updated Jul 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Uvalde principal at Robb Elementary School has suspension lifted

President Joe Biden embraces Mandy Gutierrez, the Priciple of Robb Elementary School, as he and First Lady Jill Biden pay their in Uvalde, Texas on May 29.
President Biden embraces principal Mandy Gutierrez as he and first lady Jill Biden pay their respects on May 29 in Uvalde, Texas, after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The principal of the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school where 19 students and two teachers were killed by a gunman has been "fully reinstated," effective immediately, three days after being suspended, her attorney said Thursday.

Driving the news: Robb Elementary School principal Mandy Gutierrez was placed on administrative leave with pay on Monday. But this has now been lifted after a review and she "has already reported to work," her San Antonio-based attorney Ricardo Cedillo said in an emailed statement.

  • Cedillo released a letter from Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District superintendent Hal Harrell informing Gutierrez of her reinstatement and thanking her for submitting a response to a House investigative report on the shooting.
  • "As a result of our review, you will be allowed to return to work" on Thursday, Harrell said in the letter.

The big picture: Along with systemic failures in law enforcement's response to the shooting, the special legislative investigation found that Gutierrez and other staff knew before the May 24 massacre that there were problems with a lock on a door to the classroom where the shooting took place, but it wasn't fixed.

  • However, Gutierrez rejected the Texas House committee's investigative report findings, saying on Wednesday it's "unfair and inaccurate to conclude that I ever [became] complacent on any security issue of Robb Elementary," per the Texas Tribune, which first reported news of her reinstatement.

What they're saying: When asked if Gutierrez felt vindicated by her reinstatement, Cedillo replied in his email: "Vindication is not what she sought. She sought merely to be allowed to continue her efforts to assist in the healing process for the families in the community she loves. 

  • "She understands and respects that the grieving process might involve anger. That is a natural reaction and she respects and empathizes with everything those affected are going through," he continued.
  • "She prays for the strength to focus on the healing process that will be prolonged and probably never-ending," Cedillo added.
  • Representatives for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

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