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VIN MANNIX column | MHS teacher guns threat too ominous

A worker is told he’s losing his job.

So he goes home and returns armed.

You don’t have to imagine what happens next.

You’ve seen enough tragedy like it on the news.

That such violence had the potential of happening at an upcoming Manatee High School faculty party is too awful to even contemplate.

Perhaps teacher Christopher Potter was bluffing when he allegedly told a Manatee colleague about his idea before he was arrested Thursday by the Bradenton Police Department.

Yet the weapons they found at the 25-year-old’s Sarasota home that night suggest he had the means.

What’s also disturbing is police reported Potter was hiding Oxycontin — prescription painkillers — in one hand when he returned to campus and was apprehended.

A TV production instructor at school, Potter was reportedly pawning school electronic equipment he’d stolen to pay for his alleged drug habit.

He told police he might take up to 10 pills a day.

Deputy Chief William Tokajer said police have no reason to believe Potter was dealing to students at the time.

Maybe he wasn’t, but the very idea of a teacher being in the position to do so is alarming.

Keeping our schools drug free has been an ongoing fight for years.

They’re supposed to be sacrosanct, havens of learning.

But let’s not be naive.

It happens.

The focus is generally on students bringing drugs onto campus.

Not teachers.

It’s a violation of a sacred trust.

The trust of a community that has been sending its children to Manatee for generations.

Chris Potter was only at Manatee two years, the first year as a teacher’s assistant.

He’d been told his contract would not be renewed and he was being put on paid administrative leave.

Erratic behavior was why, district officials said.

Even if Potter’s alleged threat about bringing guns was an empty one, it had to be taken seriously.

We’ve seen enough bloodshed over the years from scenarios just like it.

Please, God.

Not at Manatee High.

Or any of our schools.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee Count. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at

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