A superintendent in Texas has resigned after parents in the district learned he left a firearm unattended in a school bathroom for a third-grader to find.
Superintendent Robby Stuteville of the Rising Star Independent School District submitted his resignation Monday, district staffers confirmed.
The Rising Star ISD Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss Stuteville’s resignation — which was effective immediately — and take appropriate action. A representative for the Rising Star ISD said Wednesday morning that Marty Jones, the current principal of Rising Star High School, had been named the interim superintendent of the district.
Last week, former superintendent Stuteville confirmed that a third-grade student had found his gun in the bathroom at Rising Star Elementary School back in January. The child notified a teacher immediately without moving or touching the weapon.
Stuteville discussed the incident with KTLA sister station KTAB, explaining that both he and the school principal practice open carry on campus.
While using the restroom, Stuteville said, he took the gun off and placed it in a stall, where it was then left unattended for around 15 minutes until it was found by the student.
The child’s parents said the student returned to the classroom and notified the teacher, who sent a second student into the bathroom to confirm it was a real gun.
“There was never a danger other than the obvious,” Stuteville claimed. He then went on to say he was “proud” of the student and commended his behavior after finding the firearm.
“This is one of those examples of guns in schools,” Stuteville said. “Regardless of who takes responsibility, they are a considerable danger, and one should school their child to be on the lookout for any unusual placement of a weapon or anything out of place.”
Local police say they were not notified of the incident until last week despite the gun being found in January. Rising Star Police launched an investigation after being informed.
There is also an investigation underway into the initial failure to report, a local police chief confirmed.
Parents in the district gathered at an emergency school board meeting Thursday night to discuss the incident. The general consensus was that Stuteville was not acting “maliciously,” as one parent said, but they were not happy about being kept in the dark for so long.
“Why, we as parents, had to find out about it through the news. It only makes the school seem like they have something to hide,” one parent stated.
Giovanni Mata, a parent who recently moved from Uvalde to Rising Star, told KTAB that he is the father of the student who was allegedly sent to verify whether there was indeed a gun in the bathroom.
“So the teacher asked another kid, my son … ‘Can you go see if it’s a real gun?’ Why would you send a kid? Why not just send someone else?” Mata asked.
“Be put in my shoes,” he added, reflecting on the tragic school shooting near his former home in Uvalde. “Three minutes for that guy to kill all those people — in just three minutes. And that gun [in the Rising Star bathroom] was left unattended for 15 minutes.”