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School worker claims retaliation after reporting 'gun show'

Sensitive issues thrive in the modern American educational environment. Principals and other administrative staff are charged with protecting their school's students, though they are not always ethical in their efforts. One former employee of the Pierce Joint Unified School District in Arbuckle, just north of Sacramento, claims that he was forced from his job after discovering that school officials permitted a gun show on campus. The whistleblower filed the claim in district court on Dec. 19, 2012, according to official documents.

The man, a maintenance worker, discovered that school administrators were planning to use the bus barn for a gun show during the summer months. The high school principal is accused of bringing several firearms onto campus with the intention of displaying and selling them, according to the complaint. After the whistleblower filed a complaint against his supervisor, he was subjected to retaliation and effectively forced to resign in late August.

According to the claim, the man was invited to the show, but he did not attend because he knew the activity was likely illegal. He reported the situation to the district finance officer, but he was effectively abandoned by district leaders after submitting the complaint. The man was then put on a leave of absence before he was forced out of his position, fearing for his safety during his time on campus. The man also reported the retaliation to the district superintendent to no avail, according to the suit.

Students were not on campus at the time of the incident, though police investigators are working to determine whether any criminal statutes were violated. The Gun-free School Zone Act may be invoked against the principal if enough evidence is collected, according to area officers.

The man reportedly felt so threatened at work that he was forced to resign. His claim seeks damages of more than $10,000, ostensibly for lost wages, emotional distress and other related claims. The district is accused of violating the California Whistleblower Act.

Source: The Appeal Democrat, "Former worker of Arbuckle schools seeking 'gun show' damages," Todd R. Hansen, Jan. 5, 2013.

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