In Newtown, Connecticut, the scene of a high-profile school shooting just years ago, an eighth-grade science teacher was arrested last week when a loaded firearm was found on his person.
A faculty member at Newton Middle School saw what seemed to be a weapon under the instructor’s clothing and made a report to security officers before the beginning of the school day.
Nelson Oliveira, writing for the NewsTimes, reports that 46-year-old Jason Adams was detained by staff members and the police were called.
James Viadero, Newtown’s police chief, said the teacher had a pistol permit, but he violated state law and district regulations against the possession of firearms on school property. The teacher was charged with possession of a weapon on school grounds and was put on administrative furlough until an investigation can be completed.
Officials calmed parents by explaining that the pistol was never drawn or used.
“This matter is very serious and troubling,” Superintendent of Schools Joseph Erardi Jr. said in a statement. “Both the Newtown Public School system and the Newtown Police Department took immediate steps to address the matter.
Erardi added that mental health service providers will be available to anyone who needs counseling because of this incident.
Newtown Middle School is only about two miles from the site where Sandy Hook Elementary School had been located. In 2012, 20 children and six adults were massacred by a young gunman at the school.
Police personnel reported that the security standards recently created were the reason the response to this incident was fast and appropriate.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said:
“Anyone who experienced the Newtown massacre or has spent time with the families of victims and survivors knows the trauma it caused and continues to do so today.”
According to Nicholas Rondinone, reporting for the Hartford Courant, Viadero said officials at the state licensing and permit unit had been contacted and informed of Adams’ arrest. He was released without bond and was told to appear in Danbury Superior Court on the 20th of this month to face charges for a Class D felony.
Sandy Hook Promise is a group organized by several of the young victim’s parents. The group said in a statement:
“We are dismayed that this could happen in a school, especially one in a community as traumatized as Newtown. We commend the Newtown Police Department and Newtown Public Schools for their thoughtful handling of the arrest of science teacher Jason Adams for violating the law by bringing a weapon onto school grounds.”
In a fortunate coincidence, the entire system had a two-hour delay on Wednesday because of staff meetings. Children did not arrive until after the episode.
Adams’ intentions for bringing the gun to school are unknown, but one parent said the teacher was “kind, helpful, and considerate.” Some called what he did a “stupid mistake.”
Shelley Hazen of the Inquisitr reports that Connecticut Citizens Defense League President Scott Wilson disagrees with the law that does not allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapons onto school property, but he also commented that “the law is the law.”