Teacher charged with bringing gun to Florida school

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Betty Jo Soto
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Betty Jo Soto

SEMINOLE, Fla. –  Authorities say a teacher was arrested after bringing a handgun and knives to the elementary school where she worked.

The Tampa Bay Times reports 49-year-old Betty Jo Soto was arrested and fired Monday. Pinellas County Schools Police say she faces two misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed weapon.

A district spokeswoman says Soto was exhibiting “suspicious behavior” Monday at Starkey Elementary School in Seminole. The principal notified police. An arrest report says officers searched a backpack in Soto’s fourth-grade classroom and found a 9mm semiautomatic pistol. Police also reported finding two knives.

Soto has a concealed weapons permit, but that doesn’t allow her to carry weapons on school property.

Soto recently learned her teaching contract wouldn’t be renewed, but school officials wouldn’t say when Soto was told.