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Teacher allegedly threatens student with toy gun

Kari Austin
Kari AustinWBBJ screen grab

This column has taken a dim view on schools that take a dim view on the use of imaginary weapons by students. Among the accounts that have deservedly been ridiculed in this space was one in which administrators in a Pennsylvania school district threatened a 10-year-old with expulsion for shooting a pretend arrow at a classmate.

A story today, reported by West Tennessee ABC affiliate WBBJ, suggests that not all fake weapons attacks are equal. This time, the “weapon” — a toy gun — was in the hand of a teacher. The person at whom the gun was pointed was a student in her math class named Lauren Austin. In a moment of exasperation, the teacher, Claire Wilder, pulled the trigger and allegedly said something along the lines of "I wish this was real."

After learning about the incident the girl’s understandably concerned mother, Kari Austin, told reporters:

I could not breathe. I was beside myself with anger that a teacher would do this to her in front of all those kids.

Chester County Director of Schools Cherrie Pipken told the station that administrators are aware of the situation and added in a brief statement that "appropriate action was taken and the teacher has been disciplined." A video accompanying the news report indicates that the teacher was “placed on leave.” But since the incident occurred right before the Christmas break and the teacher was back in the classroom when school resumed, the family is now calling shenanigans. They have taken their daughter out of the classroom, and say they will not allow her to return until the school board removes Wilder. Said Kari Austin of the situation:

You just can't even imagine how upset I am about this. Had Lauren done this to Ms. Wilder she wouldn't be back in school. They wouldn't let her back in school.

She has a point.

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