St. Louis Substitute Teacher Tests Taser in Fifth-Grade Classroom, Officials Say

by

VIA

Officials say that a substitute teacher brought a Taser with her to Kehrs Mill Elementary School in Chesterfield this week, pulled it out and tested it inside a fifth-grade classroom.

"She won't be returning to substitute," Kim Cranston, spokeswoman for the school district, tells Daily RFT. "The thing that's really important...is this was not any situation where children or anyone was in danger."

A Chesterfield police captain tells us that the unnamed sub is not facing any criminal charges. Still, the incident appears to have sparked some controversy, with the principal sending emails to parents, on view below, trying to ensure them their kids were not at risk.

Principal Christina Garland wrote to parents on Wednesday:

This morning, we became aware that a substitute teacher brought a Taser to school. Upon learning of this, we immediately removed the Taser and substitute teacher from the classroom. Another substitute teacher was assigned to the classroom for the remainder of the school day. Rockwood is conducting an investigation and will take the appropriate action according to District policies and procedures.

In a follow-up letter, after the incident made headlines, she wrote:

A substitute teacher brought a Taser to school. While she was in an area of the classroom, away from students, she tested it. A teacher across the hall became aware of this action and immediately informed administration. The substitute teacher was quickly removed from the classroom and the school.

Please be assured that at no time was there a threat to the safety of any student or staff member. The students in the class were engaged in other activities, and most may have been unaware of the incident at the time since it was handled in a quiet and efficient manner.

VIA

"Because of the intense media attention, it has raised a level of concern among our parents," says Cranston, chief communications officer with the Rockwood School District. "It was handled."

Continue for more details on the incident and the full letters from the principal.

VIA

Though she has not spoken directly to the teacher, Cranston says her understanding was that it was the sub's personal Taser that she had recently purchased.

After the incident, officials immediately launched an investigation -- and the substitute, who has been working in Rockwood since 2008, will no longer be returning as a substitute since she violated district policy, Cranston says.

"It was an error in judgment," she says.

Here are the emails.

Dear Kehrs Mill Parents:



I am writing to inform you of a situation that occurred this morning in a fifth-grade classroom, and share the steps that were taken in response. While this incident did not occur in your child's classroom, I believe it is important that you know what happened.



This morning, we became aware that a substitute teacher brought a Taser to school. Upon learning of this, we immediately removed the Taser and substitute teacher from the classroom. Another substitute teacher was assigned to the classroom for the remainder of the school day. Rockwood is conducting an investigation and will take the appropriate action according to District policies and procedures.



It is important to note that any weapon at school is considered serious and cannot be tolerated. Ms. Fridley-Hagenbrock returns to her classroom tomorrow. Thursday, Feb. 28. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.



Sincerely, Dr. Christina Garland Principal

Dear Parents:

You may have seen stories in the news about an incident that occurred at Kehrs Mill yesterday in a fifth-grade classroom. Yesterday, I shared this information with parents of fifth-grade students. Today, I want to provide all of you an update on this situation.

A substitute teacher brought a Taser to school. While she was in an area of the classroom, away from students, she tested it. A teacher across the hall became aware of this action and immediately informed administration. The substitute teacher was quickly removed from the classroom and the school.

Please be assured that at no time was there a threat to the safety of any student or staff member. The students in the class were engaged in other activities, and most may have been unaware of the incident at the time since it was handled in a quiet and efficient manner.

We have a caring school community, and our first priority is the safety of our students and staff. This substitute teacher will not be returning to Kehrs Mill Elementary. Because this is a violation of district policy, Rockwood Human Resources is continuing this investigation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please give me a call. Open, honest communication with parents is always a priority for me.

Sincerely,

Dr. Chris Garland Principal

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

comment