Florida teacher arrested for bringing loaded gun, two knives in her backpack and leaving it in her classroom

Florida teacher arrested for bringing loaded gun, two knives in her backpack and leaving it in her classroom
(Source : Police Department)

A fourth-grade teacher was arrested on Monday, May 20, in Seminole, Florida, after she took a loaded gun and two knives into Starkey Elementary School. Betty Soto was carrying a Glock 9mm handgun that was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, a six-inch fighting knife, and a two-inch finger knife inside her backpack. According to a report by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the gun was exposed in her classroom with fourth-grade students present.

One mother whose two children attend the elementary school in question, Erica Kennedy, told WFLA: "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."

Even though Soto has a legitimate concealed weapons permit, she was arrested by deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for carrying the weapons onto the elementary school's property. Soto told CNN affiliate WFLA to "ask DeSantis" and "ask your governor" when she was asked why she has taken the weapons to the school.

This seemed like a reference to a bill that Florida Governor DeSantis had signed earlier on in the month that would allow teachers to be armed on campus. The measure, which does not go into effect in the state until October this year, allows school districts to opt in on the program. 

The measure that was signed is not a requirement for teachers or districts in the state to pick up arms and start defending their students. CNN affiliate WFOR reported that the teachers from districts which opted to participate will have to go through police-style training, psychiatric evaluation, and a drug screening.

A spokesperson for the Pinellas County Schools said that Soto's teaching contract was already not renewed for another year before the incident occurred. She will not be returning to the school for the rest of the year and will not be eligible for hire anywhere else within the school district. WFLA reported that she was bonded out of jail on Monday, May 20, night.

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