NEWTOWN, Conn. – A Newtown, Connecticut middle school teacher was charged with a felony for carrying a pistol with him to school Wednesday.
A teacher at Newtown Middle School reported that colleague James M. Adams was carrying a gun on campus Wednesday morning, and a security guard detained Adams and called police around 9 a.m. The school was on a two-hour delay because of staff training, so students were not in the building when the incident occurred, the Hartford Currant reports.
“This matter is very serious and troubling, both the Newtown Public School system and the Newtown Police Department took immediate steps to address the matter. The teacher was immediately detained by security personnel,” according to a joint statement by local police and school officials.
“Both agencies have been working closely together to investigate the incident and are taking precautions to ensure the continued safety of our students, staff and community members.”
The Newtown Bee reports police determined Adams carries a valid concealed pistol permit, but Police Chief James Viadero said it’s against both state law and district policy to bring a firearm on school property.
Viadero said police contacted the state’s permit unit to inform them of Adam’s arrest.
Officers hauled the teacher to the police station, where he was booked for a single felony count of possessing a firearm in a school building.
Adams was eventually released on a personal recognizance bond and is scheduled to be arraigned in Danbury Superior Court on April, according to the news site.
“The teacher has additionally been placed on administrative leave, pending an administrative investigation,” according to the statement.
Newtown schools were in the national spotlight in December 2012 when a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot and killed 20 first-grade students and a half-dozen adults.
A group formed to support victims’ parents after the attack – Sandy Hook Promise – issued a statement about Adams’ arrest, the Courant reports.
“We commend the Newtown Police Department and Newtown Public Schools for their thoughtful handling of the arrest of science teacher Jason Adams for violating the law by bringing a weapon onto school grounds,” it read.
The pro-gun rights group Connecticut Citizens Defense League also chimed in on the situation.
“We disagree with the law as far as permit holders being able to carry on school grounds,” president Scott Wilson told the news site. “However, the law is the law and hopefully this person had the intent to protect students from harm’s way in a worst case scenario.”
Ironically, the Newtown tragedy in 2012 helped to inspire numerous schools across the country to allow educators with concealed carry permits to pack pistols in class to defend students in active shooter situations.
Police report they’re unsure what motivated Adams to allegedly bring his gun to school.