HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) – A substitute teacher will no longer be allowed to work in the Hilliard school district after being accused Friday of bringing a gun to work.
The Hilliard Division of Police charged 46-year-old Cynthia Wingo, of Columbus, with illegal conveyance of a deadly weapon in a school safety zone, which is a fifth-degree felony. HPD said Wingo on Thursday left her purse behind at Norwich Elementary School, which contained a 9-millimeter Glock handgun.
The purse was found Friday morning and taken to the school’s office, where the gun was discovered. A staff member at the school contacted the police immediately.
“The school district acted swiftly to contact us, and we recovered this weapon quickly and safely,” said Chief of Police Michael Woods. “We’re fortunate no student found this weapon and remain grateful for our partnership with Hilliard City Schools.”
Parents of students at Norwich Elementary School told NBC4 that receiving an email about the incident was the type of thing they’ve dreaded.
“My immediate reaction was I was angry, and I was kind of confused. I was like, what is going on?” said Jamie Collins.
Collins said she was glad a staff member found the gun before a student did.
Another Hilliard resident, Jared Myers, said he’s waiting for more information before passing a judgment.
“We just have to approach it empathetically,” said Myers. “In general, we shouldn’t try to demonize anyone yet or like, to jump to conclusions.”
Wingo is an employee of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio. The organization gave NBC4 this statement regarding the incident.
“We are aware of this serious incident involving Ms. Wingo and are currently investigating. The matter is being reported to the Ohio Department of Education and she will not be permitted to substitute for any school during the investigation.”Educational Service Center of Central Ohio
A Hilliard City Schools spokeswoman also added that it was only Wingo’s third time filling in as a teacher in the district.
“This substitute will no longer be able to work in our district moving forward,” said HCS Superintendent David Stewart. “The safety of our students and staff remains the district’s highest priority, and we are grateful for the partnership and swift action of the Hilliard Police.”
Collins said the school district did not alert students to what happened, but she chose to tell her daughter.
“My daughter, she wasn’t upset by it at all. I kind of explained to her that there was no evidence that she was there to harm anyone and that the staff found it,” Collins said. “My daughter had the belief on her own that she should’ve been allowed to protect the children.”