Elementary school student brings handgun to school

Posted at 5:09 PM, Dec 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-18 00:41:46-05

KEARNS, Utah - A 6th grade student brought an unloaded handgun to West Kearns Elementary School Monday.

The 11-year-old boy allegedly told other students his parents encouraged him to bring a gun to school for protection following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday.

The boy reportedly pulled the gun, a .22-caliber pistol, out of his backpack during recess Monday morning.

"At recess, he pointed a gun to my head and said he was going to kill me," said Isabel Rios, one of the boy's fellow 6th grade students.
Granite School District officials say students didn't notify teachers about the weapon until 3 p.m.

"Once the teacher knew there was a weapon in the classroom, the student was apprehended in 30 to 45 seconds and immediately brought down to the office and the police were on site within five to 10 minutes," said Granite School District Spokesman Ben Horsley.

Granite School District sent a pre-recorded message via telephone to the parents of West Kearns Elementary students at 5:30 p.m. By then, some of those parents had already heard about the incident from their children.

"There was no lockdown. No one was called. Nothing was done. And then we had to hear it from our kids," said John Klaus, the father of a student at West Kearns Elementary.

School administrators said they didn't lock the school down because the gun was taken into possession quickly and they felt a lockdown would have scared the students.

On Tuesday, some parents decided to keep their children home from school to keep them out of harms way.

"There are some individuals that have chosen to keep their kids home from school [Tuesday] and that's very understandable. We are going to be working with those families, making sure they are comfortable with the steps and actions the school is taking," Horsley said.

Ashlee Gordon pulled her 7-year-old son out of class after hearing about the incident Tuesday morning.  

"I don't want to have to be at work, or anything like that, and worry about my child possibly not coming home, especially before Christmas," Gordon said.

Police were investigating to determine what the boy's parents' involvement may have been in the incident. The student was taken to a juvenile hall.

He has been suspended and criminal charges may be filed by the end of the week.