Florida teacher arrested with gun right after GOP votes to arm teachers


When asked why she brought a loaded gun and knives into her elementary school classroom, the Florida teacher said: 'Ask [Gov.] DeSantis.'

Less than a month after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill allowing teachers to bring guns to school, Betty Soto, a fourth-grade teacher in Seminole, Florida, was arrested on Monday for bringing a loaded gun and several knives to school.

When asked why she did it, Soto replied: "Ask DeSantis."

Soto had a loaded Glock 9mm handgun, a six-inch fighting knife, and another smaller knife in a backpack she carried with her into a classroom full of children at Starkey Elementary School.

"Shock, absolute shock," Erica Kennedy, a mother of two children attending Starkey, said when asked by WFLA bout her thoughts on the situation. "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."

Soto was arrested for bringing the weapons to school, and her actions would not have been allowed even under the new law signed by DeSantis. The law allows teachers who have gone through training and background checks to carry loaded weapons into their classrooms, if their school district has opted in to the new program created under the law.

But Kennedy and other parents who were alarmed by the incident may be forced to get used to armed teachers standing in the front of classrooms beginning in October, which is when the new law goes into effect. And the incident with Soto shows how dangerous and frightening the repercussions of the law could be for students.

"I'm scared for the next generation of students who will grow up afraid of gun violence in their schools; not just from a shooter, but from the guns that could be carried by their teachers," Sari Kaufman, a survivor of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, said in a statement after the bill was signed into law.

Even with trained professionals, gun accidents happen. While the Florida legislature was debating the bill, a school resource officer at a Pasco County middle school accidentally fired his weapon in a school cafeteria. No one was hurt in the incident.

At the federal level, the House of Representatives, led by Democrats, passed landmark gun safety legislation earlier this year. The Florida legislature, led by Republicans, passed a law to put more guns in schools.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.