RISING STAR, Texas — The superintendent of a school district in west-central Texas resigned on Monday after parents learned that his gun was found in a bathroom stall by a third-grade student last month, officials said.
Robby Stuteville, who was the superintendent of the Rising Star Independent School District, submitted his resignation and it will be accepted at a special board meeting, KTXS-TV reported.
Monty Jones, the principal at Rising Star Elementary School in Rising Star, told NBC News that he will be the acting superintendent until the district finds a replacement.
Rising Star is a small town located about 155 miles southwest of Dallas.
Jones told NBC News that he and Stuteville carried weapons on campus in the aftermath of last year’s mass shootings nationwide, particularly in Uvalde, Texas.
“For our kids’ protection, we need someone who is more responsible with a gun,” Elizabeth Lee, who has two grandchildren in the district, told KTXS.
After the third-grader found the gun, a teacher sent another student to confirm that it was genuine, The Texas Tribune reported. District leaders did not notify community members until last week, according to the website.
“I was shocked because it happened early in January and we’re just now finding out about it,” Lee said. “Mr. Stuteville is a good man. But that was irresponsible.”
Stuteville said took the gun off and placed it in a stall while using the restroom, KRBC-TV reported. He added that the firearm was left unattended for 15 minutes until it was found by the student.
“There was never a danger other than the obvious,” Stuteville told the television station.
Stuteville added that he was “proud” of the student and commended his actions after finding the gun.
“This is one of those examples of guns in schools,” Stuteville told KRBC. “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.”
Jones said he understands why parents are angry but believes Stuteville made a mistake.
“He took a lot of pride in his job, and it was an accident that happened and he felt extremely bad about it,” Jones told NBC News. “He just didn’t feel like it was a situation to where he could carry on without further distractions. No one to my knowledge called for his resignation. And the board certainly did not. We were very supportive and we were trying to work through it.”