In response to last month’s massacre in Newtown, a Michigan charter school hired a firearms instructor as a security guard – only to find that the armed guard forgot his gun in the school bathroom.
The school took the National Rifle Association’s advice in hiring an armed guard, but the retired Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. firearms instructor, Clark Arnold, endangered students less than a week after he was hired by forgetting his deadly weapon in the school bathroom.
The Chatfield School of Lapeer, Michigan, which has about 500 enrolled students, was fortunate that the security guard remembered to retrieve the missing gun before a student came across it. The school director reported the incident to local authorities, but the retired firearms instructor will face no criminal charges.
“If you left a gun unattended and a toddler finds it and shoots and hurts someone, it could be some kind of reckless use of a firearm,” Lapeer County Prosecutor Byron Konschuh told the Flint Journal.
But because no students were injured at the charter school, “it’s almost like no harm no foul,” Konschuh added.
Chartfield School Director Matt Young told TV5 that his school is proud of its safe learning environment. Last week, he admitted the need for several improvements, one of which he thought he was satisfying by hiring the armed guard. The school also installed new cameras and teachers received lockdown training.
Even Arnold, who recklessly forgot his weapon in the bathroom, said his presence would add to the safety of the school.
“It’s probably slim to next to none that someone’s going to be needed in the school, but it’s that slim you have to worry about,” he told WNEM TV. “It’s a tremendous asset to the safety of our students.”
But he himself could have provided that ‘slim’ chance for another Newtown-type massacre at the school of 500 – a mistake that Young recognizes, but refuses to talk about. The director called the incident “a personal matter” and told the Flint Journal that he would not discuss the officers’ actions or consequences.
“The school has put additional security procedures in place that follow local law enforcement practices and guidelines,” he said in a statement. “At no time was any student involved in this breach of protocol. We will continue to work on improving school security.”
After the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which left 26 students and faculty dead, the NRA recommended placing armed guards in schools across America to prevent further shootings.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre. But if the ‘good’ guy’s weapon falls into the wrong hands, a mistake like Arnold’s could trigger the country's next deadly shooting.