Reynolds High School teacher calling for stricter gun control laws

Reynolds High School teacher calling for stricter gun control laws »Play Video
Reynolds High School science teacher Seth Needler was one of Jared Padgett's teachers.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Reynolds High School science teacher is receiving a lot of attention for a Facebook post he wrote, calling for stricter gun control legislation, after a deadly shooting at the school.
   
Just hours after the shooting, Seth Needler wrote a several paragraphs-long Facebook post about how terrifying it was to wait with his students in a dark classroom as police secured the school.

"Today I endured the nightmare I had feared for the past fourteen years, since I started teaching public school - a school shooting," Needler wrote.

The post continued, "It was absolutely terrifying to sit in my classroom, on the floor, in the dark, with a group of 40 or so students crammed into the corner against the wall, silently reflecting that all four walls of the room are made of some kind of flexible bulletin board (great for hanging posters, but I'm sure any bullet that exists could go through it easily)."

Needler had no idea, at the time, that the shooter was one of his students.

Jared Michael Padgett, 15, a freshman, went into the boy's locker room early Tuesday and shot Emilio Hoffman, 14, in the chest before police cornered him in a school bathroom. Police later found Padgett slumped over in a nearby bathroom. An autopsy revealed he died from a self-inflicted wound to the head from the rifle he carried into the school that day.

Needler taught Padgett this year and knew him to be a good student.

"I've been struggling to make sense of it. It was a shocker," Needler said. "In fact, when I was first told, I was sure it was just another student of the same name."

Needler said he knew Padgett was a gun enthusiast - who talked about guns from time to time in class - but said that never raised any alarm bells. Padgett was also known to be a devout Mormon and aspiring serviceman.

"I wouldn't have thought he would have been capable of doing something like this," Needler said. "He didn't seem like that kind of kid at all."

Calling for stricter gun control laws

Needler's Facebook post, however, is getting the most attention about gun control laws. Needler is calling for stricter regulations including "rigorous gun safety training," tougher background checks and letters of recommendation.

In the post, he writes, "To buy a gun, you need 3 letters of recommendation: One from a family member, one from a friend, and one from a co-worker. If your family doesn't trust you, you have no friends, and your co-workers don't know you well enough to trust you, then you shouldn't be able to own a gun."

On Friday, Needler told the On Your Side Investigators, "I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a politician. I don't think I'm the guy to write the law. I think someone should do it and it seems to me that there's got to be someone in Congress or someone could do that."

Needler said he was shocked by the amount of attention the post had received. As of Friday evening, three days after the shooting, Needler's post had been "shared" more than 3,000 times.

"Based on the response it's gotten, the vast majority has been supportive and it sounds like a lot of other people would also like to see some changes happen. If I've done something that helps others get involved, then I think it's for the better."

The science teacher doesn't regret the post but he laments not knowing something was wrong with his student.

"I feel like I wish I had known," Needler said. "Maybe I could have done something; maybe I could have reached out to him. But I didn't know."