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Firearm Found Inside Mpls. School Staff Member’s Locker

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A staff member who was worried about safety after the tragedy in Connecticut brought her own loaded gun to an elementary school on Wednesday.

It happened at Seward Montessori in south Minneapolis.

Police were called after the staff member told a teacher, who then told the principal.

“It’s unnerving to have that type of call come in when your children are there, and you hope they’re safe,” said Jeanette Wiedemeier-Bower.

Wiemeier-Bower’s 10-year-old son, and 13-year-old daughter attend Seward Montesorri. When she got a call from the school saying a loaded gun had been found, she was shocked and scared.

“I broke down,” she aid. “I had a little mini-breakdown at my work and then I pulled it together. The message said don’t come, everything is fine. So I knew they were okay.”

Police say a staff member in her late 50s brought a .357 magnum revolver into the school. It was loaded with five rounds. She put it in a locker in a faculty lounge and told a teacher. That teacher then told school officials, who alerted police.

Investigators say this is extremely rare.

“This is the first instance that I can think of that involves a staff member,” said Sgt. William Palmer of the Minneapolis Police Department.

A spokesman said the staff member has worked in the school district for 21 years without incident. She was put on administrative leave. She told police that she was concerned about what happened in Newtown, Conn.

“It is a stressful situation, but we feel we are trying to support and assist this staff as much as possible,” said school spokesman Stan Alleyne.

The staff member did have a gun permit, but guns are not allowed in Minnesota schools. In fact, the Harrold School District in Texas became one of the first in the nation to allow teachers and administrators to carry guns.

But parents in Minnesota aren’t sure that’s the answer.

“It can’t help, and it could scare children and make them think it is OK to bring that into school,” said parent Heather Harvet.

Police said that at no time were students or teachers in any danger.

The school was put on “code yellow” for much of the day,  meaning that students were mostly kept in classrooms.

The staff member is not a teacher, and so far has not been charged with a crime.

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