The defense fund for a former teacher’s aide who brought a gun into a Rockland County school is making slow progress.
The father of Warwick resident Gillian Jeffords, a former teacher’s aide at the Jesse J. Kaplan School in West Nyack, started a GoFundMe page for his daughter in May, after she was arrested for bringing a gun to the BOCES school. In three months, it has raised just $2,745 of its $20,000 goal from 32 people.
“We are seeking support to pay legal bills in relation to a case involving Gillian, who is (was) a concealed carry pistol permit holder, and her pistol on a school campus,” her father wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We can't share all the details while the case is pending, but it has made the news, and the details given in the news, as you might expect, are largely wrong.”
The GoFundMe page noted that Jeffords is “an active competitive shooter, a member of GSSF, and a regular winter league competitor. She applied for, and received, her unrestricted carry permit shortly after her 22nd birthday, in accordance with New York law. Gillian started shooting at about age 12 and has gained proficiency in pistol, rifle, and archery.”
Jeffords, 24, was arrested on March 28, when another employee noticed a handbag that contained a handgun and contacted police. The gun was later identified as a black Ruger 9mm handgun, which was found in a staff closet. When the gun was found, no students were in the classroom, though the school initiated its lockdown protocol. The investigation into the gun ultimately determined it was Jeffords. Once the gun was secured, the lockdown was lifted.
Police said that “at no point was this weapon displayed or used in a threatening manner by the teacher’s aide.” It was determined that Jeffords had a valid license for the weapon in both New York and Pennsylvania, but it is illegal in New York to have a gun on school property.
Jeffords appeared in court earlier in the summer, and saw her case adjourned. She is due back for an appearance late next month.
She has pleaded not guilty to a felony count of criminal possession of a weapon. On the GoFundMe page, her father noted that all money raised will be used to pay Jeffords’ attorney, with unused money set to be donated to the NRA at the conclusion of her criminal case.
“Our Constitution in general, and the 2nd Amendment in particular, is under attack from those who would leave us defenseless. Please help support this cause, and it will surely help us all.”
The BOCES school where Jeffords worked, and the gun was found, is for students with Autism, cognitive disabilities, medical fragility and/or multiple disabilities.
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