Palm Beach School for Autism admits mishandling gun response

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - The leader of a school for autistic children says she was wrong.

The head of the Palm Beach School for Autism, Ann Levine-Eisenberg, admitted that when a gun was brought into school by a therapist in May, she should have called deputies before she held an emergency meeting with staffers.

She has come under heavy criticism from parents who say she did not act in the best interests of her students.

"I wish I had called PBSO and then dealt with the firestorm, absolutely. If I look back on that, that's exactly what I would say to you. I don't have a problem admitting, I'm only human, I'm not perfect I have no problem saying that to you. Yes, I wish I had called PBSO first and then dealt with the firestorm."

The gun was briefly displayed by a therapist, who had been hired by a family to watch a student, when he transferred the gun from a bag to his ankle strap under his pant leg.

Eisenberg says teachers began panicking when rumors spread about the incident.

The police report says an employee called a boyfriend from school, who then called PBSO.

Levine-Eisenberg says it happened so fast that she held a brief meeting with teachers to assure them there was no threat, and that she was picking up the phone to call 911 when deputies called her to ask if everything was OK.

"The deputies did a great job, it may just have been perception that was off," said Levine-Eisenberg.

The therapist was determined not to be a threat and led away from campus. The therapist had a concealed weapons permit.  But under state law that still does not allow a person to bring a firearm into a school.

Levine-Eisenberg also said she did not say to a deputy that she was, "more concerned with the complainant than the seriousness of the incident."

She also says she was in the process of calling police when the police called her to ask if everything was OK at the school.

Palm Beach School for Autism is a charter school and the board ultimately hires and fires her.

She says since this incident, she has received calls from all seven members of the board offering their support.

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