JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A substitute teacher accused of threatening students at a Westside middle school with a stun gun told News4Jax she made the threat because she felt unsafe after a group of students surrounded her desk.
Kiara Ansley, 26, was removed from the Jefferson Davis Middle School classroom Wednesday and charged with possession of a weapon on school grounds.
Ansley told News4Jax on Thursday that she did not know it was illegal to have a weapon at school.
She said she would never have used the stun gun on the students and that she keeps it in her purse to protect herself.
“I definitely want everyone to understand I was not, my intentions were not to hurt the children, the students,” Ansley said. “I want them to understand that I did it to protect myself. I felt threatened.”
With her attorney at her side, Ansley apologized and explained that she was subbing for an art teacher Tuesday and that the students' behavior was the worst she has seen in her two years as a substitute teacher.
“They were extremely rowdy, this group,” Ansley said. “I knew this was probably going to be a troublesome group. I've never had students that disruptive before ever.”
Ansley said after she asked the students to sit down, a group of them surrounded her desk.
“At that point, after asking them to go sit down and telling them that I felt threatened, after the third time, I had my hand in my purse (and said), 'I have a Taser, and I'm not afraid to use it,'” she said.
Ansley said a short time later school police and others escorted her out of the classroom and placed her under arrest.
A student had notified the principal and a school board police officer confronted Ansley, who handed over her stun gun, a source told News4Jax.
“I've seen those signs before (saying that weapons aren't allowed at school, but) I never thought twice about it,” Ansley said. “It was something that I never thought, 'Oh my God, yes, I have a stun gun.' I didn't intend to use it.”
Duval County Public Schools informed its substitute teacher vendor, Kelly Services, to ensure Ansley will no longer be placed in any of the district’s schools.
Ansley said she loves teaching and knows that now she probably won’t ever be allowed back into Duval County schools to teach. Her attorney is hoping they can get the charges dropped.
“I want to see the charges dismissed against her,” attorney Dexter va Davis said. “She's learned her lesson. I would hope that the school board would realize this is a woman who cares about kids and at least give her another opportunity and give them training.”
Ansley was released on her own recognizance. She did not have to post bail but will be back in court April 27.
“I should not have said that to the students,” Ansley said. “My intention was not to hurt them in any way. I wanted to protect myself. I wanted to make sure I was safe. I didn't feel that at the moment, and that's why I stated that.”