Moral Low Ground


Clark Arnold, Police Firearms Instructor Hired as School Guard, Leaves Gun in School Bathroom

Clark Arnold (Photo: WNEM screen grab)

Clark Arnold (Photo: WNEM screen grab)

A retired police firearms instructor hired as an armed guard by a Michigan charter school left his gun unattended in a school restroom.

In the wake of the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut, officials at the Chatfield School, a K-8 charter school in Lapeer, Michigan, decided to take the National Rifle Association’s advice and hire an armed guard. The school hired Clark Arnold, recently retired from a 32-year career with the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office. School officials said they chose Arnold, a former firearms instructor, because he is “prepared for any situation.”

But those officials weren’t prepared for what happened on Monday when Arnold left his gun unattended in a school restroom. Although the weapon was not loaded, Chatfield School Director Matt Young still called the incident a “breach in security protocol.” Local law enforcement was contacted regarding the error, but county prosecutor Byron Konschuh dismissed the mistake as a case of “no harm, no foul.”

“If you left a gun unattended and a toddler finds it and shoots and hurts someone, it could be some kind of reckless use of a firearm,” Konschuh told Michigan Live. But being that no one was harmed, “it’s almost like no harm, no foul,” Konschuh added.

Arnold, who Young called “a tremendous asset to the safety of our students,” will likely keep his job despite the troubling incident. Many parents seemed to forgive his mistake.

“I’m thrilled that the board at Chatfield was proactive to take the steps to protect our children,” Cindy Fliedner, who has two children in the third grade at the school, told Michigan Live. “I’m so thankful they’re not just sticking their heads in the sand.”

Tris Fritz, whose two children also attend Chatfield, wasn’t so forgiving.

“I know people are human and they make mistakes,” Fritz told Michigan Live. “That’s kind of a big mistake.”


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One Comment

  1. MikeJanuary 18, 2013 at 7:24 pmReply

    He’s far from being the 1st LEO to misplace his gun. I’ve heard of maybe 4 or 5 in my lifetime who have laid their gun down or it dropped from the holster. If Mr. Arnold went to the can, dropped his trou I can guess what happened. He probably was wearing inside waist band holster, no retaining strap, gun slides out onto the floor quietly.
    Better off using a belt holster with thumb break. Gun stays where it belongs.

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