- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah teacher who was injured by fragments from a bullet and a porcelain toilet when her gun accidentally went off in a faculty bathroom at an elementary school has been charged with a misdemeanor and resigned from her job.

Nobody other than the teacher was injured or saw the Sept. 11 shooting, but it reignited a debate about whether teachers should be armed. Utah is among a few states that allow people with concealed-weapons permits to carry guns in public schools.

Michelle Montgomery, 39, was charged earlier this month with discharge of a firearm in a prohibited area within city limits, court records show. An arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 5.

She has not entered a plea and doesn’t appear to have an attorney or a listed phone number. Montgomery carrying her gun legally with a concealed-firearm permit when the gun went off.

She was facing discipline for violating school policy but was not going to be fired, Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said. But on Thursday, Montgomery informed the district she would not be coming back to her position as a sixth-grade teacher at Westbrook Elementary School in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville.

She said she was taking another job closer to where she lives, Horsley said. Montgomery was a teacher at Westbrook for 14 years.

“We wish her well,” Horsley said.

Montgomery was injured after the bullet struck a toilet and caused it to explode. Fragments from the bullet and toilet struck her lower leg, and she was taken to a hospital by ambulance for treatment.

Utah Parents Against Gun Violence said the events were exactly why they don’t want teachers armed. Group co-founder Miriam Walkingshaw said after the accident that the risk of having any guns near children is greater than any risk teachers hope to prevent.

Gun-rights advocates said teachers can act faster than law enforcement in the first few minutes of a school attack.

In Utah, teachers are not required to disclose that they are carrying a weapon, and administrators are prohibited from asking if they carry or barring them from bringing their weapons.

Educators have said they have no way of determining how many Utah teachers are armed. But gun-rights advocates estimated several years ago that 1 percent, or about 240 teachers in the state, are licensed to carry weapons.

The Granite School District requires teachers who carry guns at school to keep the weapons on their body at all times, even in bathroom stalls.

Gun instructors have been offering free training to Utah teachers for years, with an estimated 500 educators participating in the classes, according to Utah state Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield. He said Utah has allowed teachers to carry concealed weapons for 13 years, and this is the first problem he can recall.

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