RISING STAR, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – At least three weeks after the incident, the Rising Star ISD school board is addressing an incident in which a 3rd-grade student found an unattended firearm in the school bathroom. The gun belongs to Rising Star Superintendent Robby Stuteville.
Giovanni Mata, father of a Rising Star student, said his son Leighton was one of the students that discovered the firearm. “The superintendent had left his gun in the bathroom because he always has it on him on his hip and Leighton and another kid had found it,” Mata explained.
Leighton said his teacher sent him to check on the gun after another student reported it to them; An action Mata said doesn’t sit well with him. “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 send someone else,” Mata expressed.
The incident took place in January, Rising Star Chief of Police Don Braly said his department was not made aware until recently, but an investigation is underway. “I heard of it last night (Wednesday)… I can tell you that we are taking this very seriously. It’s under investigation. When that investigation is concluded the information and the facts, not rumors, will be turned over to the district attorney’s office,” Braly said.
KTAB and KRBC conducted a phone interview with Superintendent Stuteville Thursday, just hours before an emergency meeting to hear parents’ concerns. “This is one of those examples that guns in school regardless of who takes care of them are a considerable danger. One should school all of their children to be on the lookout for any kind of unusual placement of weapon or any other kind of thing that’s out of place and report it to the authorities immediately,” Stuteville explained.
Nearly 30 parents showed up to the Thursday night meeting. Their consensus generally shared was that they did not feel Stuteville was acting ‘maliciously’ as one parent said, but that they were not happy 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.
Some felt the issue was being over-emphasized, even addressing their crowd of fellow parents to reprimand. “How many of your kids have access to guns in your own home? A bunch of you, including mine. I think it’s a mistake and I think that you pointing fingers at him for doing something like this is wrong,” a parent said to the crowd.
But for Mata who recently moved to Rising Star from Uvalde, the incident hits a little too close to home to just be swept under the rug. “Be put in my shoes… Three minutes for that guy to kill all those people in just 3 minutes. And that gun was left unattended for 15 minutes,” Mata said. “At one point I just wanted to say hey, this wasn’t your kid in here. If this was your kid in that situation I’m sure you would act completely different… You can’t say that was a mistake to leave a gun there. you can’t mistake a life.”
This is an excerpt from Rising Star ISD Emergency Operations Plan:
According to the Rising Star ISD Emergency Operations Plan, firearms are considered an emergency response situation. Response protocol requiring prompt notification of parents and law enforcement to be carried out by the Superintendent or Business manager.