Seminole teacher could lose job over loaded gun found at school

Seminole teacher could lose job over loaded gun found at school

This is a discussion on Seminole teacher could lose job over loaded gun found at school within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Here's the story Dave Weber | Sentinel Staff Writer January 13, 2009 SANFORD - A veteran Seminole County teacher whose loaded handgun turned up on ...

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Thread: Seminole teacher could lose job over loaded gun found at school

  1. #1
    Member Array j21blackjack's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Seminole teacher could lose job over loaded gun found at school

    Here's the story

    Dave Weber | Sentinel Staff Writer
    January 13, 2009
    SANFORD - A veteran Seminole County teacher whose loaded handgun turned up on a driveway at Heathrow Elementary School is fighting to keep her job.

    Michele McGhee says she accidentally picked up the .357 Smith & Wesson with items to take to school and apparently dropped it on the bus loop on her way into the building on Dec. 12, 2007. A school secretary found the gun and McGhee's cell phone a few minutes later.

    Superintendent Bill Vogel said Wednesday the error is unforgivable and she must be fired.

    "It is the most serious situation a principal or superintendent has to deal with when a loaded firearm is on campus. Anything can happen," Vogel told an administrative-law judge, who will recommend what punishment McGhee should receive.

    Vogel said he is haunted by the shooting death of a Milwee Middle School student three years ago. Chris Penley was killed by Sheriff's Office sharpshooters after brandishing a pistol that turned out to be fake.

    Someone else could have died if a curious student had picked up McGhee's gun, Vogel said.

    The School Board is not required to accept Judge Bruce McKibben's recommendation, which is not expected for two months. But any action taken by the board could be appealed. The Florida Department of Education also is investigating and could revoke her teaching certificate.

    McGhee, 57, a third-grade teacher who has been on unpaid suspension since the incident, was arrested for bringing the gun to school -- a violation of state law. But charges later were dropped.

    Everyone agrees that McGhee, who has worked for the district since 1986, had an unblemished record before the incident. What's at issue is how she should be disciplined.

    Barbara Nixon, Heathrow principal, and Beverly Perrault, director of elementary education, agreed McGhee should be fired.

    "I would probably have a lot of parent calls asking for children to be removed from that class" if McGhee went back to teaching, Nixon said.

    Friends and family argued that she is an excellent teacher, well-liked by students and parents, and should be returned to the classroom.

    Matthew Haynes, McGhee's attorney, said Vogel's recommendation to terminate her is unfair because he did not fire another teacher who brought a gun to school about the same time. Jon Diesbourg, a second-grade teacher at Forest City Elementary, was suspended for 10 days after a BB gun was found on the roof of his station wagon. Diesbourg said he had used it to break up a pig fight at his rural Eustis home and forgot he had placed the gun on the roof.

    McGhee, skittish after her home was burglarized, had the gun in her living room the day before because an unfamiliar plumber was in the house. She said she later put the gun on top of her purse, which was in a milk-crate cart of items she hauled back and forth to school each day. She had intended to put the gun inside the purse, she said, because she was going to go shopping later that evening.

    She canceled the shopping trip, however, and the next day plopped her lunch in the cart on top of the gun and never noticed it. "I totally forgot I had not put it away," she said.

    The gun and cell phone apparently fell out of the cart as McGhee wheeled it from her car to the school building.



    I feel sorry for her, but it really is a pretty big screw up. If it was my kid, I would probably request my child be place in her class, instead of some left wing gun hating nut's class. Hope she keeps her job, but not likely.


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    I don't have a problem with her being fired. She's lucky she's not in jail.

    With every right comes attendant responsibility. Her negligent handling of the firearm was, IMHO, inexcusable.

    We have the right to own and carry. We have the responsibility to do so in a safe, intelligent manner.

    Matt
    Battle Plan (n) - a list of things that aren't going to happen if you are attacked.
    Blame it on Sixto - now that is a viable plan.

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    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    My daughter attends that school and is in the 3d grade. At the beginning of the year we actually told the principal that we'd prefer our daughter be assigned to her class.

    Unfortunately, the overall liberal bias in the education system tends to include anything gun related and I really don't think this will turn out well for the teacher.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

    Theodore Roosevelt

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    Fear is a hateful thing, in many ways. Those howling for blood want this educator's career terminated. No child was harmed. Disciplinary action is one thing; termination of a career something else entirely. Reality is, for all the damage it did the practical impact of that "dropped" gun was no worse than it being in an unlocked safe.

    It would be interesting to know how many actual assaults, robberies, rapes and murders have occurred in the area during the time this teacher has been removed from duties. This person isn't a criminal, and no actual damage resulted.

    I'm all for holding folks responsible for their actions and failures, in situations where actual damage occurs, but a balanced response would seem far more tolerable then exacting the maximum from the situation, at least to me.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    This is why it's a good idea to keep your firearm in a holster on your person,instead of just keeping it wherever,I know when I walk out of my house where all my guns are and I have over 30,I sn't there something in the law about "Intent" Intentionally carried a gun on school grounds,if there was no intent then she should be found not guilty.I personally would rather have an armed trained teacher in my childs classroom than somebody who couldn't stop a threat.She isn't the only one to lose a gun that kids found what about the canine cop that dropped his.
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
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    Bad situation for her. I agree she needs to be disciplined, but I think to fire her is going to far. If fired I think it will be overturned. The school board already set a precedence in another gun on school property situation.

    Matthew Haynes, McGhee's attorney, said Vogel's recommendation to terminate her is unfair because he did not fire another teacher who brought a gun to school about the same time. Jon Diesbourg, a second-grade teacher at Forest City Elementary, was suspended for 10 days after a BB gun was found on the roof of his station wagon. Diesbourg said he had used it to break up a pig fight at his rural Eustis home and forgot he had placed the gun on the roof.
    If they want to have a "Zero Tolerance" policy it needs to be administered fairly across the board.

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    Senior Member Array mi2az's Avatar
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    Not really on topic, but as for the comment of anything gun releated and schools is true. My son was studing the Civil War in history and drew a confederate solider on his notbook carrying a gun. He was discpline for this and was asked not to draw guns again.
    "When the people fear the government you have tyranny...when the government fears the people you have liberty."

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    Quote Originally Posted by mi2az View Post
    Not really on topic, but as for the comment of anything gun releated and schools is true. My son was studing the Civil War in history and drew a confederate solider on his notbook carrying a gun. He was discpline for this and was asked not to draw guns again.
    I'm afraid I would have had to make a trip to the school over that. Demand that anyone with a picture of a car or drawing of a car be disciplined, after all, cars kill more children a year than guns do! The new car pictures on the principals desk should be good for at least a 10 day suspension.

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    jfl
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    Another "witch hunt"
    No intent, no damage, no consequence, so what ?
    If she dropped the keys to her car, would there be an outcry ?
    Lot more people get killed by cars than guns !
    Every month (weeks) we hear about an LEO forgetting his/her sidearm somewhere.
    Humans make errors, if we were to loose our jobs every time we screw up, there would be a lot of unemployment.

    My job however is different; I can only make a bad mistake once
    The first rule of a gunfight: "Don't be there !"
    The second rule: "Bring enough gun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfl View Post
    Another "witch hunt"
    No intent, no damage, no consequence, so what ?
    If she dropped the keys to her car, would there be an outcry ?
    Lot more people get killed by cars than guns !
    Every month (weeks) we hear about an LEO forgetting his/her sidearm somewhere.
    Humans make errors, if we were to loose our jobs every time we screw up, there would be a lot of unemployment.

    My job however is different; I can only make a bad mistake once
    Yeah, but you won't get fired for it!!

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    The real problem here to me is that they are trying to set a new precident over the issue. She did something wrong. I am unaware of the local laws but failure to maintain control of a deadly weapon is usually a crime, also failure to maintain control such that it is accessable to minors is usually a crime. If she committed a crime of comparable level what would the discipline be. Let that be the action.
    But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigiceman View Post
    The real problem here to me is that they are trying to set a new precident over the issue. She did something wrong. I am unaware of the local laws but failure to maintain control of a deadly weapon is usually a crime, also failure to maintain control such that it is accessable to minors is usually a crime. If she committed a crime of comparable level what would the discipline be. Let that be the action.
    She was originally arrested and charged with having the weapon on school property, the state later dropped the charges.

    McGhee, 57, a third-grade teacher who has been on unpaid suspension since the incident, was arrested for bringing the gun to school -- a violation of state law. But charges later were dropped.
    To me it is just another case of the school board trying to enforce their own agenda.

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    The problem I am having is:

    "McGhee, skittish after her home was burglarized, had the gun in her living room the day before because an unfamiliar plumber was in the house. She said she later put the gun on top of her purse, which was in a milk-crate cart of items she hauled back and forth to school each day. She had intended to put the gun inside the purse, she said, because she was going to go shopping later that evening."

    She had planned to put in her purse...but apparently didn't go shopping. But it layed on top of her purse the entire time. Something is just not adding up right...I get in my car, I check to see if I have my wallet...did she not check to see if she had her purse before driving to school. And if she looked for her purse, would she not see the gun? And finally, she planned to put it in her purse...which leads me to believe she planned to take it to the school with her and had been for awhile.

    Soooo...I believe based on what was written she knowingly was violating the law at one time. Can it be proved in a court of law...probably not. The School Board is not a court of law and have broad discressions on who they hire. Seems pretty clear to me.

    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by bandit383 View Post
    The problem I am having is:

    "McGhee, skittish after her home was burglarized, had the gun in her living room the day before because an unfamiliar plumber was in the house. She said she later put the gun on top of her purse, which was in a milk-crate cart of items she hauled back and forth to school each day. She had intended to put the gun inside the purse, she said, because she was going to go shopping later that evening."

    She had planned to put in her purse...but apparently didn't go shopping. But it layed on top of her purse the entire time. Something is just not adding up right...I get in my car, I check to see if I have my wallet...did she not check to see if she had her purse before driving to school. And if she looked for her purse, would she not see the gun? And finally, she planned to put it in her purse...which leads me to believe she planned to take it to the school with her and had been for awhile.

    Soooo...I believe based on what was written she knowingly was violating the law at one time. Can it be proved in a court of law...probably not. The School Board is not a court of law and have broad discressions on who they hire. Seems pretty clear to me.

    Rick
    Re-read what the article says:

    McGhee, skittish after her home was burglarized, had the gun in her living room the day before because an unfamiliar plumber was in the house. She said she later put the gun on top of her purse, which was in a milk-crate cart of items she hauled back and forth to school each day. She had intended to put the gun inside the purse, she said, because she was going to go shopping later that evening.

    She canceled the shopping trip, however, and the next day plopped her lunch in the cart on top of the gun and never noticed it. "I totally forgot I had not put it away," she said.

    I never check for my wallet when I get in the car. When I dress in the morning I place it in my pocket and it remains there until I get undressed at night. She knew where her purse was, she had placed it in the cart the night before, probably just like she does every school day. Nothing in the article shows she had any intent of taking it to school.

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    Re-read what the article says:




    I never check for my wallet when I get in the car. When I dress in the morning I place it in my pocket and it remains there until I get undressed at night. She knew where her purse was, she had placed it in the cart the night before, probably just like she does every school day. Nothing in the article shows she had any intent of taking it to school.
    I understand "nothing in the article shows"...my assumption only as I stated. If she is so absent minded with her weapon...and uses her purse which she stated...the reasonable person might easily assume she has "absent minded" carried it to the school. Can you prove it...no (as stated). But, I believe carrying does not afford one to be absent minded...period.

    Rick

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