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Archive for Friday, January 26, 2007

5-year-old takes gun to school

January 26, 2007

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— A kindergarten student whose mother told his father to get a gun out of the house took it upon himself to do just that.

Shawnee Police Capt. Ron Copeland said the 5-year-old took the unloaded gun Wednesday to Rhein Benninghoven School, where he showed it off to at least one classmate.

A teacher heard about the gun and notified the principal, who called an officer at neighboring Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, Copeland said. That officer contacted police to see if the gun was real, and it turned out to be a .22-caliber semiautomatic weapon.

Copeland said the boy's father had found the gun while cleaning out a drawer at home. After he showed it to the child and relayed a message about the dangers of guns, the boy's mother said to get rid of it.

"When asked why he brought it to school, (the child) told the teacher his mother wanted it out of the house," Copeland said. "But more than likely he was just showing it off to friends."

LeighAnne Neal, a spokeswoman for the Shawnee Mission School District, would not say what disciplinary action will be taken. But she said the district adheres to the Gun Free Schools Act of 1994, which mandates the expulsion for at least one year of a student who is determined to have brought a gun to school.

"Typically what happens when a child is found to be in possession of a banned object, in this case a gun, they would be placed on suspension pending consideration of further disciplinary action," Neal said.

She said the incident happened too late in the school day to send a letter home with students, but a phone message was sent out to let them know what happened.

"Fortunately the gun was not loaded, so staff and students were not in any danger at any time," Neal said.

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