Airsoft gun brandished at second grader
A Treasure Mountain International Middle School student may get up to a 180-day suspension for violating the district’s safe school policy. On Tuesday he brought a plastic Airsoft pellet gun to school and pointed it at a group of second graders at McPolin Elementary School. He shot a pellet at one of the student’s legs and left a red mark.
The incident occurred during the elementary school’s final recess of the day, around 2:25 p.m. when Treasure Mountain gets out. The second graders had been making a game of trying to steal pencils from the pockets of middle school students as they crossed the Lucky John path.
O’Connor and the school counselor made trips to the classes of students most affected by the encounter.
"We reassured them the student involved did not have a mean, malicious intent," O’Connor said.
Treasure Mountain International Middle School Assistant Principal Sean Kuennen spoke with the boy involved and said he does not have a disciplinary record.
"He definitely thought it was a toy, he didn’t mean to cause all the havoc," Kuennen said.
He added that regardless of the boy’s intentions it was a violation of the district’s safe school policy and the young man may face up to 180 days of suspension.
Angie Maizlish, a concerned parent said she was worried that procedure might not have been followed correctly and said 9-1-1 should be dialed at the first mention of the word gun or bomb.
"I come from schools in Florida that know how to deal with this because they’re bigger," she said, adding her family relocated here in search of a small-town lifestyle.
Maizlish said the event was reported to authorities an hour after it took place.
"The police were called as soon as the situation was assessed," O’Connor said.
At the time, two staff members were supervising the recess period and O’Connor reported neither of them deemed it a life-threatening situation.
As a solution to the problem afternoon recess times and locations have been moved to avoid interactions between the middle school students and elementary students.
Both schools have also used the event to remind parents of the safe school policy, which prohibits any type of weapon, real or not, in schools. O’Connor stressed the district has zero tolerance in these issues.
Maizlish expressed other concerns about the safety of the school including the fear that McPolin had not performed a lockdown drill during the year.
O’Connor responded that while it has not been done yet, the drill will take place before the school year is over.
"The important thing to look at in this situation is that both the parents and the school are working in the same direction, for the safety and welfare of the students," O’Connor said.
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