A high school teacher in Virginia has been arrested and charged with 12 felony counts for using a gun filled with blanks on his students. The incident happened just five days after the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting, when fears were at their highest throughout the state.
Apparently frustrated with the lack of attention from his students, Manuael Ernest Dillow, 60, pulled the gun on his class and had the students line up.
"He then pulled a 'blank firing handgun,' black in color, from the back waistband of his pants and discharged the weapon between four and ten shots in the direction of the line of the students," a press release stated.
"The 'report' of the firearm was similar to that of a firearm that fires a projectile, thus placing the students in fear," according to statements. "No students were physically injured as a result of the incident," it said.
Violence in schools has dramatically increased in recent years, with more and more students bringing firearms to school. Unfortunately, this is a case of a teacher firing at the students, which makes it rather unique. Several teachers, though, have been caught bringing firearms to school, though they never discharged the weapon.
In 2001, the second anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, a substitute teacher was sent home for bringing a firearm to a school in Florida. School officials noticed the handgun poking out of the teacher's back pocket and sent her home without any further disciplinary action.
"There was no threat," sheriff's spokesman Lt. Rod Reder told the St. Petersburg Times. "She wasn't going to use it with anybody." However, at least one official believes that the very fact that the teacher was carrying the gun was a threat in itself.
"She sounds a lot more dangerous than my kids," lawyer Mina Morgan told the St. Petersburg Times. "Carrying a gun around a school, walking around with a gun in your back pocket is nuts."
Dillow, the Virginia teacher, actually fired a weapon. He has been released on $20,000 bond but faces up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine if convicted on May 7.