GUN AT SCHOOL INCIDENT RESULTS IN EXPULSION

ELEMENTARY STUDENT BRINGS PLAY GUN TO SCHOOL

An eight year old third grader brought an unloaded revolver to the Hagood Elementary School in Pickens on Friday morning, according Anna Esuary, director of communication services for the School District of Pickens County.

The child was in the school building unpacking his book bag when he reportedly told a teaching assistant that he had a “play gun” in the bag.

Teachers believing the gun to be real advised Karen Jackson, principal of the school, who subsequently alerted the town of Pickens police.

Police investigation revealed that the gun looked real, but was in fact a collectable replica that is designed to look-like the real thing. The gun was not loaded and no ammunition was found and it was not capable of being fired, according to police. No one was injured and no threats were made, according to Esuary.

Town of Pickens police officer Brad Smith investigated the incident and transported the child to the police department, where he made contact with the child’s grandfather and made arrangements for the grandfather to pick the child up. An official incident report was filed.

The SDPC policy states that they have a “zero tolerance” for guns or weapons of any type being brought to county schools. Esuary said that the unnamed student would be recommended for expulsion. Officials at the Hagood Elementary School said they had been told not to comment on the incident.

A bi-partisan congressional committee for the 106th Congress working on the problems of youth violence has stated that “public policy towards children has moved towards treating them more like adults and in ways that increasingly mimic the adult criminal justice system. The most recent version of this movement is the so-called ‘zero tolerance’ in schools, where theories of punishment that were once directed to adult criminals are now applied to first graders.”

Many school districts in South Carolina and across the nation have adopted zero tolerance as their way to deal with any “weapon” issues that occur in public schools regardless of the circumstances or the age of the child.

Ethan Gray 6, a student at the Ed Babe Gomez Heritage Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska was suspended last month for bringing a family butter knife to school in a book bag. Ethan said he did not know how the knife got in the book bag.

His parents think that Ethan’s younger brother may have put the butter knife there. The school district has a zero tolerance policy and Ethan was suspended. The parents are appealing the ruling, but in the meantime their son is unable to attend school.

Vince Jackson reporting from Pickens, South Carolina

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