Child Brings Loaded Handgun to Elementary School in His Backpack

child gun school backpackAn elementary school student is being held in juvenile detention after bringing a loaded handgun to a Missouri elementary school this week. This and other countless incidents of firearms making their way onto school campuses should send a strong signal to parents to start dealing not just with our kids' access to guns, but with their attitudes toward their potential dangers.

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Officials haven't released the student's name, but parents outside the Portland Elementary school in Springfield, Missouri, told a local news reporter they heard the student was a fifth-grade boy.

A letter sent home to parents concerning the incident from the school's principal, Josh Holt, praised two students who reported seeing the gun to school officials and prevented yet another potentially catastrophic school gun tragedy.

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015

Dear Portland parent:

I want to make you aware of an incident that occurred at Portland Elementary School today and to assure you that we are responding with the appropriate degree of concern to protect all students in our care.

Today, two observant students reported seeing a student with something that appeared to be a gun. Upon investigation, a loaded handgun was discovered in a student's backpack. We have no indication of any threats made to the school or any individuals in the school and the student indicated the student had no intention to use the gun at school.

Following are the steps that were taken in response to the discovery of the weapon:
* School police officers responded and initiated an investigation.
* The student was transported to Juvenile Detention; other appropriate disciplinary procedures outlined in board policies are being followed.
* Springfield Police Department is assisting with the investigation.

I want to thank the students who initially reported seeing something unusual. It is an important reminder that we all-students, staff and parents-share a responsibility for school safety and to report when we observe anything out of the ordinary or suspicious.

Since this situation involves a minor student, I thank you in advance for your understanding of the fact that I am limited in the amount of information that I can provide about this specific incident. Even though I cannot discuss specific details with you, I do want you to know that we do our best every day to protect the safety of your child while they are at school.

Sincerely,


Josh Holt
Portland principal

More from The Stir: Toddlers Shouldn't Have Access to Guns … but They Do & It's Terrifying

As shocking and potentially deadly as this situation was, it's a critical reminder that kids really can't understand the danger of a loaded gun. That's why it's our responsibility as parents to warn our kids about how one split-second stupid decision can ruin your whole life -- or worse.

We don't know why this kid packed a gun with his books that morning, and we probably never will. Maybe the kid was being bullied and wanted to act in self-defense. Maybe he wanted to hurt himself. But what is clear is that we all need to make it a priority to talk to our kids about the culture of gun violence they're growing up in and do whatever we can to protect them both from others with guns and themselves.

No lock or safe or law can possibly keep guns away from your kids all the time. All we can do is warn them about the dangers and educate them on how to stay safe.

Sounds like the two kids who blew the whistle on the loaded gun at Portland Elementary get it. Let's make sure all of our kids know how to react not if, but when, they're confronted with a potentially deadly situation with a gun.

 

Image via sedmak/iStock

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