Rancho Cucamonga, CA – A longtime California teacher and part-time law enforcement officer has been placed on administrative leave, after school administrators discovered he was keeping a firearm locked in a cabinet in his classroom.
The Rancho Cucamonga High School anatomy teacher has been instructing students for the past 22 years, his friend, Ashley Biering, explained in an online petition.
He formerly served as a full-time officer with the San Gabriel Police Department, and is currently a part-time reserve officer with the Irwindale Police Department, she said.
Biering, a survivor of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival mass shooting, said that the now-suspended teacher “ran back into a war zone” on the day of the attack and that he heroically “saved many lives.”
He even carried one wounded man on his back for a mile to help get him to safety, Biering told KCAL.
Biering said the teacher is a proven hero, and that he is exactly who she would want to have protecting her own children in the event of a mass shooting.
But when school administrators discovered that the teacher was keeping a concealed weapon locked up in his classroom on Tuesday, he was immediately stripped of his duty weapon and [school] badge and was placed on administrative leave.
“They paraded him through campus, in front of his son who is a sophomore at the school, like he was a criminal,” Biering said told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“[The teacher] is in tears over this, but he’s trying to stand strong," she added.
In accordance with California state law, the teacher is legally permitted to carry a firearm in school because he is also a peace officer, Biering noted in the petition.
“It’s an added protection that can stop a school shooter without having to wait for police,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle. “As a teacher who is also a police officer, why wouldn’t he have one?”
Biering said that the longtime educator is also a mentor and friend to many local students.
“He is highly regarded amongst his [colleagues] and faculty members, and [does] not deserve this form of treatment by school officials and the district,” the petition read. “Without him a great asset will be lost within our community.”
The petition has garnered nearly 8,400 signatures so far.
Chaffey United School District Superintendent Mathew Holton said that “the teacher would not face any criminal penalty for possessing a firearm on school premises,” according to KCAL.
“Nonetheless, the district maintains a policy regulation that prohibits any employee, with the exception of the district’s Director of Safety and campus officers, from bringing firearms onto school premises,” Holton reiterated.
Students, parents, and other Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting survivors plan to protest the teacher’s suspension outside Rancho Cucamonga High School on Friday morning.