Fear over the Newtown school shooting prompted a Minnesota teacher to bring a loaded gun to school last week, forcing a school lockdown. The unnamed teacher, a female in her 50s, has been placed on administrative leave from Seward Montessori School in Minneapolis.
"This is the first case like this I've ever heard of," Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer told KMSP. "In this day in age in this week, handguns in schools are of great concern to everyone."
Acting on a tip from a staff member, the school principal alerted the school resource officer, who confiscated the gun from the teacher, in her 21st year of employment at the school. The loaded .357 Magnum handgun was in the educator's locker in the teacher's lounge, according to the Star Tribune. School officials confirm that no students or staff were harmed or injured.
While the teacher was not arrested, she could face misdemeanor charges for violating conditions of her Minnesota conceal carry permit, which prohibits firearms in schools without written permission from a principal or school official.
Parents were notified of the incident by phone.
"I had a little meltdown, I was in shock," Jeanette Wiedemeier Bower, the parent of a 10-year-old at Seward Montessori told KMSP. "You trust that the people who take care of your kids have everything under control."
In a statement to KARE, Minneapolis Schools officials said the district followed safety procedures in dealing with the incident, and school leaders "have been vigilant in preparing for emergency situations by reviewing safety plans."
The Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that killed 26, including 20 children, has spurred renewed national interest in gun control. As lawmakers on the left express staunch support for stricter gun laws, those on the right are starting to show willingness for change.
Still, Republicans in a number of states have announced plans to introduce legislation that would allow or even require school staff to carry guns. Republican state Rep. Tony Cornish, for one, plans to sponsor a bill that allows teachers to carry loaded weapons in classrooms.
Still, experts say that bringing weapons onto school grounds would do more harm than good, and teachers have called the proposal "absurd."
"Singular horrible events like this past week make us all upset, but if we look at the data, it doesn't make sense that that's where we need to beef up security in a very expensive way -- not only financially but also at the cost of our children's feeling of security," Kenneth Dodge, director of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University told The Huffington Post last week. "Isn't it more straightforward to just get rid of the guns?"
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