A teacher at a Tennessee high school expressed frustration with a student who did not understand the material by picking up a toy gun, pointing it at the student, and saying she “wished it was real.”
Chester County High School freshman Lauren Austin told her mother, Kari Austin, about the incident that occurred right before Christmas break. She said the teacher, Claire Wilder, had aimed the fake gun at her, pulled the trigger, and said something to the tune of, "I wish this was real."
"I could not breathe," said Austin, recalling her daughter telling her about what happened. "I was beside myself with anger that a teacher would do this to her in front of all those kids."
“I’m not going to let my daughter go back to school with a teacher who is possibly a lunatic,” the mom told the Jackson Sun. “If my daughter had done this to a teacher, there would have been 180 days’ (suspension) regardless of the trouble she would have been in.”
Lauren told the paper that she was in her algebra class participating in the teacher’s review for the final. Wilder asked her a question that she didn’t understand, so she asked her classmates for help and requested that the teacher ask the question again.
“I asked her again what to do, and she got frustrated,” Lauren said. “She was like yelling at me, telling me I need to listen more often.”
A criminal justice teacher walked by the classroom holding a foam, rifle-shaped gun. Wilder grabbed the gun and made her “joke” before giving the gun back to other teacher. Lauren laughed with the other students after, admitting she felt pressure to do so.
Both mother and daughter were surprised to see Wilder back in the classroom after Christmas break.
“I have not said anything about the incident up to this point because I took it the teacher would be fired,” Austin said.
Chester County Schools Superintendent Cherrie Pipkin said the teacher was joking, but that she had been “disciplined.” She did not elaborate further.
“There was an investigation, appropriate action was taken and the teacher has been disciplined,” Pipkin said on Wednesday.