History teacher’s rifle triggers school lockdown. But there’s just one problem.
A parent dropping off his child at Florida’s Braden River Middle School last week quickly dialed 911 after seeing a man walking into the school carrying what looked like a rifle as well as bag that may have contained ammunition.
“He’s got an older-model shotgun or rifle,” the caller said on Thursday’s 911 recording, WTVT-TV reported. “He’s got a bag that looked like ammunition.”
“And where are the weapons now?” the dispatcher inquired, the station said.
“He was walking right into the school with it,” the caller answered, according to WTVT.
That prompted a lockdown at the Bradenton school, the station said.
And indeed it turns out the object was a rifle — and more than that, it was being carried by a teacher at the middle school.
Problem was, however, that the rifle is a Civil War-era replica the history teacher brought in to show students that day, the Bradenton Herald reported. The rifle can’t be fired, the station said.
The teacher previously informed a school resource officer about the rifle, the paper reported, but the officer wasn’t aware the teacher was bringing it in Thursday. Michael Barber, spokesperson for Manatee County Schools, told the Herald that administrators and office staff should have been informed about the rifle. WTVT said that the teacher has been bringing the rifle to school for several years.
The lockdown was lifted before 9 a.m. — and before the the first bell, Barber told the paper.
“If somebody sees something, they’re going to pick up the phone and call, and they should,” Barber told WTVT. “We have to handle these things in such a way that the school administration, the school staff, and the school resource officers are involved, and it’s done in such a way that would not cause any alarm to anyone.”
Barber told the Herald that the teacher should’ve placed the rifle in a case so no one would mistake it for a working weapon. District administrators are going to review the incident and determine if there should be a policy prohibiting faculty from bringing to school anything resembling a weapon, WTVT reported.
“It very much looks like a real rifle, especially if you saw an adult walking around on campus with it. It would be pretty scary,” parent Wendy Buckner told the station after looking at a photo of the rife. “I was very nervous especially for all the kids that I know that go here and that I knew were probably already at school and my daughter, fortunately, wasn’t there yet. But you think about something like that and especially with everything that’s happened — terrorist bombings and shootings in schools — it’s terrifying some days.”
Buckner told WTVT she dropped off her daughter only after learning the campus was safe.