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Whitney Middle School teacher left gun unattended in teacher's workroom

Second incident of unattended gun in Whitney ISD
Posted at 3:41 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 00:18:02-05

WHITNEY, TX — According to a police report obtained by 25 News Thursday, a Whitney Middle School teacher left her gun unattended in a teacher's workroom. This incident occurred two months after the Whitney High School vice principal left her gun unattended in a bathroom.

The Whitney Police Department says around 3:07 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, an officer was contacted by Whitney ISD Assistant Superintendent Melody Haley and asked to come to the Whitney Middle School.

When an officer arrived, the assistant superintendent told him that a handgun, later identified as a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 9mm, had been located in a teacher's workroom at Whitney Middle School.

Haley told the officer that the handgun belonged to Bianca Neal, who is one of the school's guardian members. Haley said she had the handgun secured in her persons and that Mr. Haley, a WISD alternative administrator, had the ammunition.

The group went into the office of the middle school's vice principal to gather further details of the incident.

The officer was told that the gun was inside a purse that was left unattended in the workroom. The officer was then told a person who works in the front office of the middle school located the purse and handgun around 11:15 a.m. That person turned the purse over to the vice principal.

The officer told all parties involved to not speak about the incident because a police report was going to be filed. He then spoke with Neal, and she said she "messed up" and did not have any excuses for leaving the purse and gun unattended.

According to the police report, no criminal charges will be filed since no children came into contact with the handgun.

Once the officer cleared the scene, he informed Whitney Chief of Police Chris Bentley of the situation and advised him that he would be doing an incident report and the school would be handling the matter administratively.

This is the second incident of an unattended gun at Whitney ISD in the fall 2019 semester.

25 News obtained a police report Tuesday that was filed in August 2019 after the Whitney High School vice principal left her gun unattended in a restroom on campus.

According to the report, a Whitney PD officer was called to the high school campus after two teachers discovered a black semi-automatic pistol, later identified as a Ruger LC9s with Lasermax sight on it, sitting on a table in the female teacher's restroom.

The pistol belonged to Whitney High School vice principal Jennifer Pair, who is one of the guardians at the school. The officer contacted Whitney Chief of Police Chris Bentley and informed him of the situation. Chief Bentley told the officer he needed to make some calls and would get back to him.

Chief Bentley then spoke with the officer later and told him the Hill County Attorney said no criminal charges would fit in this situation and that it was a school policy matter.

After 25 News' report on Tuesday, Superintendent John McCullough issued a letter to parents Tuesday saying "the safety of our students is our first priority and the main reason the Guardian Program was implemented in Whitney ISD."