Bradenton teacher's Civil War prop leads to school lockdowns

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- A history teacher’s prop led to two Bradenton schools being placed on lockdown this morning.

According to WWSB, Braden River Middle School and Braden River Elementary School were both put on lockdown after they got word of a weapon on campus.  It turns out a history teacher had brought a Civil War rifle prop to school.

A parent who saw the rifle called deputies, which led to the lockdowns.

For 15 minutes, parent Bethany Lynch was in complete panic.

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“It was very scary,” says Lynch. “The only information I received was that there was somebody at the school with a gun. A man with a gun at the middle school and they were on lockdown.”

Lynch says the teacher should have known better than to carry a riffle, even if it was fake, in plain sight around a school.

“I think it's crazy that we can't even bring something for show and tell without thinking that something is going to happen. That's sad, but the thought should have crossed his mind that he can't bring that to school,” she says.

Michael Barber with Manatee County School District agrees, saying the teacher should have brought the replica rifle in a case.

Here's another part of the story: Manatee County has a policy where no one can bring weapons on campus.

In fact, for students, they could be suspended for up to 10 days and possibly recommended for alternative placement, expulsion, and referred for criminal prosecution.

Barber says the teacher has brought this Civil War replica rifle to school before.

So, why is the teacher only getting a slap on the wrist?

“A student who brought a weapon to school, even if it wasn't capable of firing, would be in violation of the code of student conduct,” says Barber. “The difference here is that the teacher did inform the student resource officer.”

Barber says there was a miscommunication between the teacher and the student resource officer.

Board members will meet during the summer to review policies regarding allowing teachers to bring replica rifles to school.

“The problem here is again, we need to be careful and smart that if someone is bringing something like this, is how its handled and done in such a way that somebody can't see it,” says Barber.

Neither the school resource officer or the teacher will face charges.

We did reach out to the Florida Department of Education for their opinion on the situation but have not heard back.