DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A freshly trained substitute teacher in Volusia County schools was banned after she reportedly told students she’d let a gunman in the building to “shoot them in between the eyes.”
Linda Baker, 61, was assigned to cover a third-grade classroom at Turie T. Small Elementary School in Daytona Beach last Thursday for her first working in the district after undergoing substitute teacher training last month, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
About 20 students were in class and apparently misbehaving when Baker allegedly concocted a story about a gunman with an AK-47 to get their attention. Statements from students and parents contend Baker dangled her keys in front of students and told them if they don’t pipe down she let someone in to “shoot them in between the eyes,” parents told WESH.
Volusia County school district spokeswoman Nancy Wait told the Sentinel the class’ full-time teacher was at a training session and stopped in to check on her students. They reportedly told her about the threat and she relayed the comments to administrators.
School officials questioned students and asked them to write down what occurred, and the consensus was that Baker told them “that if the class disrespected her … that it has been known for people to come to the school with an AK-47 and shoot the kids, and that she has a key to the classroom and that she would let them in to shoot them between the eyes,” according to the police report cited by the news site.
“It was pretty clear that she had said these things to the students,” Wait said. “It was a very inappropriate comment.”
One parent told WESH his son was traumatized by Baker’s comments.
“He was very shaken,” the parent said. “He had difficulty, at first, going to sleep.”
An assistant principal escorted Baker off of school property and sent a recorded message home to third grade parents about the incident, according to the Palm Beach Post.
“Earlier in the day we did have a substitute in the classroom and the substitute did make some inappropriate statements to the students in the class,” the message said. “I wanted you to know that we do take these statements extremely seriously and we are working with the district closely in regards to this incident.”
“We wanted to assure them she would not be back in any capacity,” Wait told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
“We have made sure this substitute will not be teaching in our schools,” she told WESH. “(She) will not be eligible for any job in Volusia County schools.”
Wait said Baker submitted to background checks before she was placed in the classroom and “everything was clear.”
Substitute teachers in the district are required to have a high school diploma, three days of training and a clear background check, according to the news site.