Principal: Teacher Who Allegedly Fired Gun in Dalton Classroom Was 'Excellent'; Principal Shocked

Feb 28, 2018

Jesse Randal Davidson in an undated photo.

Police aren’t saying why a North Georgia teacher allegedly brought a handgun to school and fired it out a classroom window, but a police representative says apparently the teacher didn’t intend to harm any students. Jesse Randal Davidson teaches social studies at Dalton High, and the principal, Steve Bartoo, describes Davidson as an “excellent teacher.”

He says he’d be surprised “with any of our teachers” if an incident like today’s happens.

“Our teachers care about our kids. They love our kids, they take care of our kids, and it's certainly shocking to any principal if one of their staff members took a gun out in a classroom and fired it.”

The incident is sparking debate about President Trump’s proposal that some teachers start carrying concealed weapons, to defend students against school shooters.

TRANSCRIPT:

Police aren’t saying WHY a North Georgia teacher allegedly brought a handgun to school and fired it out a classroom window. But a spokesman says apparently the teacher DIDN’T intend to harm any students.

53-year-old Jesse Randal Davidson is a social studies teacher at Dalton High School. Late this morning, during his planning period, he locked himself in his classroom. He was alone and wouldn’t let students in. The principal, Steve Bartoo, came to unlock the room and see what was wrong.

BARTOO: “I attempted to enter the classroom and he slammed the door. I didn't get the door open very far, but he slammed the door and a hollered, go away, don't come in here.”

The principal called for a school resource officer, and tried to get in a second time.

BARTOO: “I put my key in the door and again, he slammed the door before I could open it and said, don't come in here, I have a gun.”

Then a gunshot rang out.

FRAZIER: “Through an exterior window of the classroom. Does not appear that it was aimed at any body.”

This is Bruce Frazier, with the Dalton Police Department.

FRAZIER: “There were a lot officers on scene very quickly, and they immediately made entry into the school.”

Police locked down the school. One student sustained an ankle injury from running, but no others were hurt. Buses transported students off campus to a local convention center. A school resource officer, described as having a close relationship with Dalton High Staff, talked the armed teacher into surrendering.

Principal Bartoo says the school followed threat lockdown procedures to a T.

BARTOO: “We thank God that nobody got hurt.”

The teacher, who goes by Randal Davidson, has been at Dalton High since 2004. He also serves as the play by play voice of the Dalton High School Football team. Bartoo describes Davidson as an excellent teacher. And Bartoo is surprised by what happened.

BARTOO: “I mean he's a good teacher and um, I would be surprised with any of our teachers if that occurs. Not just him, um, our teachers care about our kids. They love our kids, they take care of our kids and it's certainly shocking to any principal if one of their staff members took a gun out in a classroom and fired it.”

This comes a few days after President Trump suggested arming teachers, to protect students against school shooters. Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh commented on the incident today, saying it might be a setup.

LIMBAUGH: “What if the teacher is a radical leftist and does this to give the Drive-Bys a news story that they can then point to? ‘See, we can’t arm teachers.’”

On Twitter, a Dalton High student responded to the idea that this incident was staged. She tweeted that such claims are disrespectful, and “I don’t think I or any of my classmates were in for a plan to risk our lives in our own school.”

Police aren’t saying what, if anything, Davidson has said about WHY he brought the gun to school.

He has been charged with aggravated assault, carrying weapon on school grounds, terroristic threats, reckless conduct, possession of gun during commission of a crime, and disrupting public school.

For WUTC, I’m Michael Edward Miller.