Third grade teacher arraigned on Federal firearms possession charges for having handgun on campus – blames school budget cuts and statewide testing

Santa Ana, California --

Arrested on federal charges for having a handgun and bullets in her third grade classroom in early April, Jayne De Armond entered a not guilty plea in a Santa Ana courtroom today. Through her attorney, De Armond insisted she never intended to harm her pupils with the handgun she kept in a supply closet in her classroom but merely intended to use the pistol as a visual instructional aide, giving her students a learning incentive they well deserve.

"She was always a firm believer in visual instructional aides," said a fellow teacher at the Diamond elementary school in Santa Ana that De Armond taught at before her arrest. "Although, personally, I would have stuck to sock puppets, but hey, that's just me."

None of the De Armond's third graders could be reached for comment because of their age; however, parents of former students did go on the record in her defense.

"Her teaching methods are unorthodox to say the least and possibly a federal crime, too, but she knows how to grab the kids' attention and keep it," said Maggie Faulkner, who had her son in De Armond's class last year. "I use to have a hell of a time getting my son to read, do his math or even stop picking his nose. But after I enrolled him in De Armond's class, I don't have to ask him twice to do anything. Now if I could only get him to stop wetting himself whenever he hears a loud noise. I'll talk to De Armond after her trial. I bet she can help me with that too."

Reportedly, the discovery of the handgun and bullets in De Armond classroom came when she started yelling and screaming at the children, up set that they still had difficulty spelling her name on the practice test forms.

"I heard all the kids crying, as usual," said Mark Sanchez, the school custodian. "But I got worried when all the crying suddenly stopped."

Sanchez then peered into the classroom window and was shocked to see De Armond wildly waving a pistol in the air threatening to use it on the first kid who dare misspell her name.

"I always wondered why I was having to clean up after so many kids that messed themselves in her class," said Sanchez. "To bad too, I heard her students always made honor roll."

De Armond's defense attorney and experts in the field of elementary school education agree teachers are under extreme pressure to bring up their students' grades and test scores, especially in times of a school budget crisis.

"With statewide testing coming up, I'm surprised more teachers haven't been arrested on federal firearms possession charges," said Armond's attorney.
Copyright (c) 2008 Robert W. Armijo

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