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Jailed substitute teacher says she forgot gun was in her backpack

Mary Beck Elementary in Elkhart.
Mary Beck Elementary in Elkhart.

New details have emerged surrounding the arrest Monday of an Elkhart elementary school substitute teacher for bringing a gun into the school.

She says it was an honest mistake.

Marissa Meyer remained in the Elkhart County Jail Tuesday after prosecutors filed formal charges of possessing a firearm on school property, a Level 6 felony. The 40-year-old has worked as the building substitute teacher at Mary Beck Elementary since January, according to her Facebook page.

According to charging documents, Meyer said she and her husband had attended a baseball game in South Bend on Sunday when her husband misplaced the key to their car. In removing items from the car so that they could leave it at the ballpark, Meyer said she had placed the gun in a backpack and forgot about it when she came to school Monday.

Meyer told a co-worker who told an assistant principal.

A police school resource officer initially found an empty holster in Meyer’s unzipped backpack, at her desk in the second grade classroom. Meyer told the officer that the gun must have fallen out. He then found the .22-caliber gun unloaded in the backpack and without the magazine secured. There was a magazine in the bag containing .22-caliber rounds.

“The backpack was easily accessible to any student that wanted to access it,” Jamie Snyder, Elkhart Community Schools’ safety and security director, is quoted as telling police in court records.

Indiana law only allows guns on school property, other than those carried by police, if they’re locked in the truck or glove compartment of a vehicle, or they’re in the car somewhere that’s hidden from the outside.

Elkhart County Jail records indicated Meyer was still in the jail as of late Tuesday afternoon. Elkhart Superior Court Magistrate Eric Ditton set her bond at $5,000, with the full amount required before Meyer can be released.

In full disclosure, Elkhart Community Schools holds the broadcast license for WVPE.

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).