Teacher was arrested for bringing a loaded gun and knives to school

Posted at 6:36 PM, May 21, 2019

A fourth-grade teacher in Seminole, Florida, was arrested on Monday for bringing a loaded gun and two knives to Starkey Elementary School.

Betty Soto had a Glock 9mm handgun loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, a six-inch fighting knife and a two-inch finger knife in her backpack.

The gun was exposed in her classroom with fourth-grade students present, according to a report by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Erica Kennedy, whose two children attend the school, told CNN affiliate WFLA that she was shocked.

"I can't believe something like that would happen at this school. I almost think they're going to have to start checking teacher's bags, or maybe even have a metal detector to set something off."

Though Soto has a concealed weapons permit, she was arrested for carrying the weapons onto school property.

Soto told CNN affiliate WFLA to "ask DeSantis" and "ask your governor" when asked why she brought the weapons to school, seemingly referencing a bill that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed earlier this month that would allow teachers to be armed on campus.

The measure, which doesn't go into effect until October, allows school districts to opt in to the program. It is not a requirement for teachers or districts, CNN affiliate WFOR reported. Teachers from districts that choose to participate will have to undergo police-style training, psychiatric evaluation and drug screening.

Soto's teaching contract was already not renewed prior to this incident, a Pinellas County Schools spokesperson said. She will not return to the school for the remainder of the year and is ineligible for hire elsewhere within the school district.

She bonded out of jail on Monday night, CNN affiliate WFLA reported.

CNN has reached out to Gov. DeSantis for comment.