Fact Check

Schoolhouse Glock

Published Oct 13, 2015

FACT CHECK:   Does a sign outside John Pearl Elementary warn potential school shooters that teachers are armed?

Claim:   A sign outside John Pearl Elementary warns potential school shooters that teachers are armed.


Examples:     [Collected via e-mail and Internet, October 2015]

This has been posted on Facebook and I am curious to know if this this marquis was really advertising this.

Here's the text that goes along with the posted photo (attached)

Now THIS it what I'm talking about! I am for a sign and policy like this at EVERY school in the land. You agree?

So, how do you feel about that? Is it sending the wrong message to the students, the right message, or whatever else?

I think it's kind of funny. And probably would be effective. If anyone were planning a shooting, I imagine that sign would make them think twice at least.

Origins:   The sign reproduced above (attributed to John Pearl Elementary School in Bohemia, New York) appeared as early as July 2013 on social media, though its precise origin wasn't apparent.

Many social media users mistook the sign for legitimate, and it circulated more frequently in the immediate aftermath of school shootings (typically to voice support for the arming of teachers as a preventive measure). It read:

Warning! Half of our school teachers are packing Glock .45 cal. pistols. Guess which ones!

While the sentiment proved popular, the sign wasn't real. (And in New York State, criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds is a potential class E felony.) The lettering was obviously digitally added to a sign with changeable letters (a common fixture outside schools across the United States), and the oddly-spaced lettering didn't fall inside the board's standard-size sliding tracks.

Moreover, the image (complete with watermark) used to fabricate the sign was available as a work example on a sign maker's web site:


Last updated:    13 October 2015

First published:    13 October 2015

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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