Utah Teacher Shoots Self In Leg After Bringing Gun To School

A Utah elementary school teacher is recovering from an accidental gunshot wound after her concealed weapon discharged while she was at school.

Utah Teacher Shoots Self In Leg After Bringing Gun To School
Deseret News / Kristin Murphy

An elementary teacher in Utah is recovering in a hospital after being shot in the leg with a firearm that she brought to school.

STUDENT ON KSTU: "The teachers were like, 'We need a sub' and stuff, and I was just like, really scared because a teacher got shot, and this is pretty crazy."

The teacher has been identified as Michelle Ferguson-Montgomery, who teaches sixth grade at Westbrook High School. Her weapon apparently discharged accidentally while she was in the faculty bathroom, before school started at 9 AM. (Video via KUTV)

School officials told the press Ferguson-Montgomery's been teaching with the school for 17 years, and had a concealed carry permit. A spokesman for the school district was careful to emphasize that the teacher didn't break any laws or school rules by bringing her gun to work.

DISTRICT SPOKESMAN BEN HORSLEY VIA KSL: "As part of the concealed weapons process, employers are not necessarily notified of whether a concealed weapon permit holder has a weapon on them or not. They are not under any obligation to notify us that they are carrying a weapon or are a permit holder."

That's thanks to a 2003 law which relaxed restrictions banning weapons from schools. The Salt Lake City Tribune notes Utah is one of the few states to allow concealed carry permit holders to bring their guns into school.

The teacher is listed as in good condition at a local hospital, but the accident has raised some questions about the laws allowing guns in schools.

KTVX: "It seems to me it's not too high a burden to say, no guns in elementary schools. Let's just not have them there."

The Deseret News points out a majority of Utah residents support armed teachers, and notes the 2013 Sandy Hook school shooting prompted a rush of teachers applying for concealed carry permits.

But Newsweek also points out over 80 percent of parents think they should be notified of which teachers have a concealed carry permit — and requiring teachers to notify parents or the school if they have a permit is currently not allowed under Utah's law.

Classes proceeded as normal following the incident, although parents did call some children out of school for the day. The school is providing crisis councilors for students and faculty who might have been affected by the accident.