SAN ANTONIO — Making her first public statement since being placed on paid leave this week, Robb Elementary Principal Mandy Gutierrez told Texas House members investigating May's mass shooting it was "unfair and inaccurate" for their interim report to conclude the school had a "culture of complacency" regarding security.
Nowhere in the report, however, does that phrasing appear. What the 77-page document released last month instead alleges is a "culture of noncompliance" when it came to safety flaws that exacerbated the death toll on May 24, when 19 students and two teachers were gunned down at Robb.
In her Wednesday letter to the House investigative committee, Gutierrez said she sought to "submit any additional information that may clarify the comments and conclusions" made in the report, for which she was interviewed. The bulk of that supplemental information focuses on the Robb classroom door, which the report concludes "probably was not locked," citing a faulty mechanism.
Gutierrez, however, fights back against that assertion. In the letter, she writes the door must have been able to lock because of daily checkups by custodians and the fact that "the teacher in charge of that classroom 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."
In regards to the door being faulty, the principal wrote neither she nor her predecessor had "no recollection or record of those complaints" from teachers.
Gutierrez also clarified the report's comments about her not using the intercom system to communicate a lockdown alert at Robb .
"The reason for this is because I was trained NOT to use the PA system in these situations," she wrote. "Our training emphasized that using the Public Address System could compound the problem in creating a panic situation with students and an alert to the one or more gunman that was present to do maximum harm."
(Read Gutierrez's full letter below.)
Gutierrez, a Uvalde CISD veteran who has just completed her first year as Robb principal, finished her letter by saying it was "unfair and inaccurate" to conclude she was complacent on the issue of security.
"I will live with the horror of these events for the rest of my life," her letter concludes. "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 frontlines helping children who survived, the families of all affected and the entire Uvalde community that I love and want to continue to protect."