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Uvalde elementary principal reinstated after school shooting investigation, lawyer says

US President Joe Biden hugs Mandy Gutierrez, principal of Robb Elementary School, in May. Gutierrez was briefly placed on administrative leave this week following a Texas House investigation into the May 24 school shooting. Her attorney says she has been reinstated. Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Three days after Uvalde Superintendent placed elementary school principal Robb on paid administrative leave, Mandy Gutierrez is back in her leadership role, according to her attorney. The reinstatement comes a day after Gutierrez rejected the findings of a Texas House committee’s investigative report into his school’s safety.

According to a letter from Superintendent Hal Harrell that Gutierrez’s attorney released Thursday, she returned to her duties as director after submitting additional information to the investigating committee.

Gutierrez was furloughed on Monday, more than two months after a shooting in Robb left 19 students and two teachers dead. It was the worst school shooting in Texas history.

The letter to Gutierrez from Harrell suggested his furlough was related to the House committee investigation.

“Thank you for responding to our request for information by submitting your response to the House Investigation Report. Following our review, you will be cleared to return to work,” Harrell wrote.

In a statement responding to the reinstatement, Ricardo Cedillo, Gutierrez’s attorney, said, “She has been fully reinstated to her position, where she will continue to perform her duties and serve all the families of the [Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District].”

The House committee report pointed to several systemic flaws in law enforcement’s response to the shooting. The committee also alleged that problems at Robb Elementary, including a culture of complacency with security measures, allowed the shooter to enter the school unimpeded.

In Gutierrez’s letter to the House committee, she dismissed claims that she created an environment of complacency regarding school safety. She said that by not announcing a lock alert on the intercom system, she had followed her training and that the door through which the shooter would have entered the classroom had a working lock, two areas of House committee investigation.

Neither Harrell nor UCISD spokeswoman Anne Marie Espinoza responded to a request for comment Thursday.

Uriel J. García contributed to this story.

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