Betty Jo Soto, the Pinellas County teacher arrested and fired for bringing a loaded gun to school on Monday, has pleaded not guilty.
The plea was entered Tuesday, county court records show, by Tampa attorney Paul L. Figueroa. She faces two misdemeanor charges of carrying as concealed weapon, according to Pinellas County Schools Police.
Figueroa was not immediately available for comment Thursday, said a woman who answered the phone at his office at Tison Law Group.
Walking out of jail after posting bail Monday night, Soto, 49, told reporters to “ask DeSantis” about why she brought the gun and two knives to Starkey Elementary School.
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed into law a widely debated that will allow Florida’s school districts to let teachers carry guns as soon as October. Though Soto has a permit to carry a concealed weapon in the state, the law does not allow her to carry such weapons on campus.
The legislation approved by DeSantis requires teachers to be approved by the local school board and screened and trained by a sheriff’s office.
DeSantis’ communications director, Helen Aguirre Ferré, responded to Soto’s comment on Twitter Wednesday, saying the now-former teacher “violated the law and should not be allowed near a school.”
The governor himself does not appear to have made a public comment on the incident.