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TAYLORSVILLE — An elementary school teacher has been charged with a misdemeanor after accidentally discharging her concealed firearm at school last month.
She submitted her resignation Thursday, the school district confirmed.
Westbrook Elementary School sixth-grade teacher Michelle Ferguson-Montgomery was charged in Taylorsville Justice Court on Oct. 1 with discharging a firearm in city limits, a class B misdemeanor.
Before school began on Sept. 11, Ferguson-Montgomery went into the restroom and unholstered her 9mm Glock handgun, Taylorsville city attorney Tracy Scott Cowdell reported. The gun went off when the teacher attempted to holster it, and the bullet struck the toilet, sending a shower of shattered porcelain into her leg.
"We recognize that it's getting harder and harder to be a teacher. With all the scary things going on in the world, I can appreciate a teacher's interest in protecting themselves," Cowdell said. "We just can't have teachers or anyone else in a school being reckless with a firearm to the point that it goes off."
We recognize that it's getting harder and harder to be a teacher. With all the scary things going on in the world, I can appreciate a teacher's interest in protecting themselves. We just can't have teachers or anyone else in a school being reckless with a firearm to the point that it goes off.
–Tracy Scott Cowdell, Taylorsville city attorney
Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said Ferguson-Montgomery has been on leave while the shooting was investigated. The district informed her this week she would be disciplined and allowed to return to work Monday, but Ferguson-Montgomery submitted a letter of resignation instead, Horsley said.
The teacher was not fired from her job, Horsley said. She has been a teacher at Westbrook Elementary, 3451 W. 6200 South, for eight years.
At the time of the shooting, Horsley explained that state law does allow teachers with permits to carry concealed weapons on school grounds, as long as the teacher makes no indication that he or she is carrying a weapon and the weapon is not visible.
In addition, district policy requires teachers with concealed weapons permits to have possession and be in control of their weapon at all times. That means a teacher cannot legally put a weapon in a purse, briefcase, desk drawer or closet — even if it has a lock — while at school, he said.
Ferguson-Montgomery is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 5.