Pinellas County, Florida teacher arrested/ fired after bringing loaded gun ( & knives) to school in Seminole. Fourth grade elementary teacher observed acting suspicious during Monday morning class.
A fourth-grade Florida teacher has been arrested after allegedly bringing a loaded gun and two knives into her classroom at Starkey Elementary School in Seminole.
Betty Jo Soto, 49, faces two misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed weapon after police discovered a Glock 9mm pistol loaded with seven bullets ‘hidden’ in a backpack, during Monday morning class. The gun was ‘exposed’ to students in her classroom, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Pinellas County Schools Police said they also found a six-inch Karambit fighting knife concealed in Soto’s pants pocket and a two-inch finger push knife in her backpack strap.
Pinellas school district spokeswoman Lisa Wolf-Chason said Soto was exhibiting ‘suspicious behavior’ during the school day on Monday. Principal Audrey Chaffin noticed the teacher carrying around a backpack everywhere she went, the spokeswoman said, and thought it was unusual.
‘The principal notified law enforcement,’ Wolf-Chason said, ‘and in the course of their investigation, discovered what was in her backpack.’
Soto had a concealed weapons permit, but the license does not allow someone to bring a weapon onto school property, an official said. The elementary school recently chose not to renew Soto’s teaching contract for the upcoming school year, but the official declined to say when Soto was notified, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Soto was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail around 1:45 p.m. before being released later on $500 bail.
WFMYNews2 reported the school district saying Soto will not be returning to school for the rest of the school year. School officials say they will take appropriate disciplinary action, won’t be decide on what action to take until the case makes its way through court.
Officials declined to speculate why the educator brought the weapons to school and when exactly parents were notified.