Farb Middle School English teacher accused of bringing weapons to school pleads not guilty

Ned Walker placed on administrative leave

SAN DIEGO - A Farb Middle School teacher accused of bringing a loaded gun and knife to work, possibly as a means of defending himself in the event of a shooting or other violence at the Tierrasanta campus, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony weapons charges.

Seventh- and eighth-grade English instructor Ned Carter Walker, 41, faces up to five years and eight months in prison if convicted of possessing a firearm on school grounds and possessing a knife or stabbing instrument on school grounds.

Walker -- who is free on $50,000 bail -- will be back in court April 2 for a readiness conference and April 23 for a preliminary hearing.

Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh ordered the defendant to stay away from the school while the case is pending.

Walker remains on administrative leave from his job, said his attorney, Gerissa Santos.

"He's obviously devastated, he loves his job, and he loves teaching," Santos said outside court. "He has a background with teaching ... his wife's a teacher. He has kids. He is devastated about all this. He misses his job, he misses his students.

"It's a devastating situation," the attorney said. "Unfortunately it's what we're faced with. And as much as we'd like to have him back on campus, have him back teaching -- some of his students want him back as well -- it's just not possible at this time given the disposition of the case."

Walker was taken into custody Feb. 11 in a parking lot at the school.

San Diego Unified School District police Chief Rueben Littlejohn told reporters that Walker's alleged decision to carry a loaded .380-caliber pistol and a knife with a 2 1/2-inch blade onto the school grounds may have been well-intentioned, but was nonetheless illegal and contrary to district regulations.

"We speculate that, based on reports from staff members, this employee had somewhat of an infatuation with guns and brought the weapon(s) to the school to protect himself in the event of a violent intruder," Littlejohn said during a news briefing last week.

A conviction on either or both of the felony charges -- one per weapon -- would be grounds for dismissal, school district spokesman Jack Brandais said.

Some students told 10News Walker often spoke about school violence in his 7th and 8th grade English classes, saying he believed teachers should be able to take weapons to school to ensure the safety of themselves and their students.

After Walker's court appearance, Santos told reporters, "There are two sides to every story and Mr. Walker surely would like to share his side at some point in time, it just, unfortunately, won't be today."

"It's difficult to be the protector of your students, as well as yourself, and not be in a position to be able to do so at times, given the atrocities that have happened in the past few months," Santos added.

Littlejohn said his department's investigation of Walker showed he had an infatuation with guns, and felt he needed them to keep his students safe.

He remains on paid administrative leave from the district pending the outcome of his case.

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