A Whitfield Career Academy teacher, who lives in Chickamauga, has been placed on administrative leave with pay after allegedly threatening fellow employees and having a knife and a loaded .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol on campus, officials said.

David Lewis Bolt, 54, of 671 Grand Center Road in Chickamauga, was charged by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office with carrying weapons on school grounds, a felony. The sheriff’s office was called at 4:37 p.m. on Monday by school officials about threats to employees at the school. Detective Wayne Headrick asked Bolt if he would agree to be searched and Bolt agreed, according to an incident report. Headrick found a lockblade knife with a blade longer than two inches in Bolt’s boot.

“When the call came in it appeared that (Bolt) had made a generalized comment, not to someone close to him, but to a group of individuals,” said Maj. John Gibson with the sheriff’s office. “It was perceived by someone as a threat, but there were no children around.”

After Bolt agreed to have his Jeep Rubicon searched in the school parking lot, Headrick found the pistol between the passenger seat and the console.

Bolt is listed as an instructor in the School of Industrial Technology on the Whitfield County Schools Web site (www.whitfield.k12.ga.us). He has degrees in criminal justice, vocational education and administration/supervision, and teaches welding and metal fabrication at the academy. He was a Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) recipient, although a year is not given. He has been employed by the school system since August of 1989.

Citing budget constraints, school officials cut the “metals” program from the Career Academy for the 2009-2010 school year.

Gibson said “the evidence was not conducive” to bring a threats charge against Bolt. “That doesn’t mean it won’t happen at a later date as the investigation develops,” he said.

Headrick said Bolt was “extremely cooperative.”

“He told me he made no threatening comments whatsoever,” Headrick said. He would not elaborate on any comments Bolt allegedly made.

Bolt bonded out of jail Monday on a transfer bond, according to a jailer. The transfer bond is a property bond when the property is in another county. A phone call to Bolt’s Chickamauga residence was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Georgia’s school safety laws state that a “weapon” includes any type of firearm or a knife with a blade longer than two inches, according to the state Department of Education’s Web site (www.doe.k12.ga.us/_documents/schools/safety/school_safety_laws.pdf). A “school safety zone” extends to 1,000 feet from school property. A conviction for carrying a weapon on school grounds can bring a fine of not more than $10,000 and imprisonment for not less than two years and not more than 10 years.

School system spokesman Eric Beavers said Bolt will remain on leave “pending an investigation” by law enforcement.

The Walker County Messenger