NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — In the wake of a shocking incident in Virginia where a teacher was shot by a six-year-old student, schools across the country are continuing to struggle to keep guns out of the classroom.
In Metro Nashville Public Schools, the number of guns found so far this year is on track to outpace last year’s numbers.
Teachers around the country are on edge after police say an elementary school student took his mother’s gun to school and shot his first-grade teacher, Abby Zwerner, in the chest.
“I think it is unnerving and it is scary, and I think that’s just the easiest way to say it, it’s scary,” MNPS teacher Quanita Adams said.
In Nashville, only halfway through the school year, 11 guns have been recovered from MNPS campuses, according to Metro police. Over the course of the entire 2021-2022 school year, Metro police said there were 13 guns discovered.
“I don’t want to say these are isolated incidents because we see gun violence, we see gun violence everywhere. And I think that any age group has the potential to have a gun if there’s access to guns available,” Adams said.
Despite these numbers, Adams pointed out one silver lining.
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“I know that in our school that oftentimes weapons are brought as a show of masculinity and that on our campus I don’t think that we’ve had any gun-related incidents other than the show of guns,” she explained.
Adams credits MNPS staff and school resource officers for preventing these incidents from escalating. She said the close relationships they’ve built with students open up lines of communication, so students feel comfortable reporting any threats.
Although Adams didn’t expect to ever have to worry about guns entering schools when she started her teaching career, she said she doesn’t go to school in fear.
“I’m a teacher because I love teaching. I don’t focus on the discipline, I’m not afraid of my students. I care about my students and I hope that resonates, and that’s all I can do,” Adams said.
MNPS provided the following statement to News 2:
Our schools work closely with the MNPD and MNPS Security team to ensure a safe environment, and we’ll continue to encourage a culture where concerns are reported and acted upon swiftly and safety to keep our students and staff safe. We have made investments over many years to strengthen security at our schools through physical improvements to our campuses, and continue to annually review and update safety plans to ensure we are following best practices.
The proliferation of illegal or stolen guns in the community is an ongoing problem in our society. Students aren’t getting the weapons from the school, they are getting them from their homes or in the community. We encourage gun owners to act responsibly and secure their firearms so they don’t get into the wrong hands. While we don’t know always know the specific source of guns found on our campuses, as the MNPD notes regularly, 70% of guns reported stolen were from vehicles. Bringing a firearm onto campus is a zero tolerance offense in the law and in our student-parent handbook.