Perry County substitute teacher fired after hunting rifle left in vehicle on campus

PERRYVILLE, Mo. – A substitute teacher in Perry County School District 32 will not be allowed to work in the district again after a rifle was found in his vehicle Friday afternoon.

According to the Perryville Police Department, officers were dispatched to the Perryville Career and Technology Center around 1:30 p.m. for a report of a weapon in a vehicle.

Students at the center noticed the rifle in the teacher’s car and told an instructor. The school resource officer got the teacher who owned the vehicle and the weapon—a .22 caliber hunting rifle—was removed from the vehicle for safekeeping. The teacher told police he’d been coyote hunting the night before and forgot the rifle was in his car.

The substitute teacher was later escorted from the campus and brought to the police department.

The Perry County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is weighing whether to file charges against the teacher for having a firearm on school property.

Meanwhile, Perry County School District Superintendent Andy Comstock sent a message to all parents about the incident. Comstock said the substitute teacher passed all criminal background checks before being hired. And while it’s believed there was never any “intent to harm or threaten anyone,” the superintendent said the substitute teacher will no longer be welcome to work for the district in any capacity.

The superintendent also praised the students for alerting school officials.

This incident highlights the challenges facing schools today.

There are dangers to children today that did not exist a generation ago. Our staff, and even our students, are constantly vigilant for anything that seems to be suspicious. We stress the importance of “If you see something, say something.” Our students did that today.

Their vigilance paid off, and our crisis plan and training allowed us to ensure that our students were safe.

I know it’s a scary time to be a parent, an educator or a student. With the recent school tragedies across our nation, and false alarms on our campus, we have appreciated the community’s support for our teachers and children. I hope that you understand that your continued support is needed now more than ever, as we work to further secure our campus to keep our children safe.