The Texas House of Representatives released a scathing 77-page report on the massacre at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two adults dead. The report detailed “multiple systematic failures” leading up to and during the shooting by school officials and law enforcement.
The report said there was a “regrettable culture of noncompliance” from school administrators who did nothing to enforce security policies.
“While the school had adopted security policies to lock exterior doors and internal classroom doors, there was a regrettable culture of noncompliance by school personnel who frequently propped doors open and deliberately circumvented locks,” the report said. “At a minimum, school administrators and school district police tacitly condoned this behavior as they were aware of these unsafe practices and did not treat them as serious infractions requiring immediate correction.”
In some cases, officials encouraged teachers to ignore the policies.
“In fact, the school actually suggested circumventing the locks as a solution for the convenience of substitute teachers and others who lacked their own keys,” the report continued.
“With hindsight, we can say that Robb Elementary did not adequately prepare for the risk of an armed intruder on campus. The school’s five-foot tall exterior fence was inadequate to meaningfully impede an intruder,” the report stated.
Lawmakers also examined the response by police officers who waited 77 minutes before engaging the gunman who barricaded himself inside of a classroom full of children.
A total of 376 law enforcement officers, including 149 U.S. Border Patrol agents, 91 officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety, and 14 members of the Department of Homeland Security, responded to the school. Despite the heavy police presence, nobody on the scene took command of the situation.
“That did not happen at Robb Elementary, and the lack of effective incident command is a major factor that caused other vital measures to be left undone,” the report explained.
The report also found there was a lack of communication between the officers inside the school and those stationed outside.
“Notably, nobody ensured that responders making key decisions inside the building received information that students and teachers had survived the initial burst of gunfire, were trapped in (classrooms), and had called out for help,” the report says.
In addition, they treated the situation as a case of a “barricaded subject” instead of an active shooter situation. The report said that officers should have focused on the “rescue of innocent victims over the precious time wasted in a search for door keys, and shields to enhance the safety of law enforcement responders.”
“Correcting this error should have sparked greater urgency to immediately breach the classroom by any possible means, to subdue the attacker, and to deliver immediate aid,” the report said.