A Utah elementary school teacher who was carrying a concealed firearm at school was struck by fragments from a bullet and a porcelain toilet when her gun accidentally fired in a faculty bathroom on Thursday, officials said. The sixth-grade teacher at Westbrook Elementary School, in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville, was injured when the bullet struck a toilet and caused it to explode, Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said.
Authorities initially thought the teacher had accidentally shot herself. They now believe she was injured when the bullet and toilet fragments struck her lower leg. The teacher, identified as Michelle Ferguson-Montgomery, was in good condition Thursday afternoon in a Salt Lake City hospital, Horsley said.
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Classes continued as usual Thursday, and crisis counselors were available, Horsley said.
Officials were still investigating how the gun discharged. "This just appears at this point in time to be an accident," he said. Horsley said Ferguson-Montgomery has been a teacher with the school for 14 years but he did not have her age. She was carrying her gun legally with a concealed-firearm permit, Horsley said.
Utah is among the few states that allow people with concealed-weapons permits to carry guns in public schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 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.
- The Associated Press