On Wednesday (Feb. 28) at a high school in Georgia, a 53-year-old Social Studies teacher, Jesse Randal Davidson, locked himself in his classroom and fired his gun, Time reported. At the time of the shooting, there were no students with him but that did not prevent fear and mass hysteria from taking over the school community.

The school went into immediate lockdown mode moments after the teacher fired his pistol, shattering the classroom window. Thankfully, no students or faculty members were seriously injured. The principal, Mr. Bartoo attempted to get the teacher to open the door, however, he refused.

It would take the work of authorities to get the teacher out of the classroom and school.

The media spoke with several students after the incident who described a terror-filled scene telling reporters that the panic-stricken teens trampled each other while trying to escape the portal of fear created by the teacher.

The school administration was clueless

When asked about the teacher’s background and mental state, the school administrators could only say that the teacher was fit for duty the day he came to work. However, to many, this appeared to be double-talk at best as the details arose from the teacher’s personal life and mental history.

In 2016, Jesse Randal Davidson walked into a police station and confessed to having someone murdered.

The police found no evidence of a body or murder to substantiate Davidson’s claims. As a result, he was not arrested but instead referred for psychiatric treatment. When confronted with this information and questioned why the teacher was allowed to continue working at the school the school administration’s response was the same, repeating that Davidson was fit for duty the day of the shooting.

On Friday (Mar. 2), two days after the shooting, Time Magazine reported that a police report acquired by The Associated Press stated the teacher had three rifles confiscated after he set fire to his family’s Mitsubishi Outlander in 2016. This too was something that Dalton school authorities were not aware of until the incident.

That police report, in addition to information from at least two other reports from a Dalton Police Department, expressed concern about Davidson’s mental state. The reports also indicated that the teacher had been hospitalized multiple times because of other concerns about his psychological stability.

Trying to understand the illogical

Because of HIPPA laws, health records are considered private and protected by patient-doctor privilege; therefore, there was no public record stating a pattern of mental health challenges existed or that Davidson was unfit to work with children. However, the average person would think that the one public police record of someone falsely admitting to having someone killed should have been sufficient.

However, it wasn’t.

This is most likely how Davidson kept his job because the details of his medical records are considered confidential. Additionally, it could be that mental health providers may not have seen any breaks with reality and deemed him stable—in which case, no one at the school would have known about the details surrounding his psychiatric treatment or sessions he may have had.

A license to sling bullets

As the country continues to heal from the deadly Parkland, Florida school shooting that took the lives of 17 students and faculty, gun debates and talk of arming teachers still swarm the headlines and coffee shops. One cannot help but wonder if the Georgia teacher felt emboldened as a result of the debates.

Did he feel empowered to bring his weapon to school and play cowboys and Indians with the classroom window? And if so, was it because of the promptings from the POTUS and the National Rifle Association (NRA) that arming teachers is a great solution to end gun violence in schools?

It should be noted, that according to students interviewed, Davidson had voiced concern about the Parkland tragedy and the senselessness of the Florida school massacre. Students recalled that he adamantly denounced support of arming teachers.

Just to be clear, the teacher was beloved and favored by many students, and still, no one at the school saw this coming. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that every human being, including a loving teacher, has the potential to be thrown out of kilter.

Once unhinged, having a gun nearby adds unnecessary fuel to a fire that need not burn. Perhaps this is the starting point for the reconsideration of recent proposals regarding mental health, guns, and teachers.