Archive for Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Officials take action after Tonganoxie 9-year-old brings BB gun to school

September 2, 2009

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A 9-year-old boy brought an unloaded CO2 gun Monday to Tonganoxie Elementary School, which prompted the Leavenworth County attorney to request a hearing in District Court.

According to Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson, the gun was not “real.”

School Superintendent Kyle Hayden said another student, at the beginning of the school day, told a teacher about the gun, which Hayden said was a BB handgun. The gun was found in the student’s backpack, without ammunition. There was no apparent threat and the child was not targeting anyone, Hayden said.

Thompson has filed a court petition for a child-in-need-of-care hearing. The child was released to his parents and has not returned to school since.

As per school district policy, the child will go through a disciplinary hearing, scheduled for later this week, and the process will “determine his educational future here,” Hayden said.

Comments

Joel Hood 5 years, 7 months ago

Lock him up and throw away the key. Clearly, based on all the information written in this story, he will grow up to be another Manson! (Charlie or Marilyn - I'm not quite sure which)

gogoplata 5 years, 7 months ago

You'll shoot your eye out You'll shoot your eye out

Danimal 5 years, 7 months ago

Holy sh*t! Not a BB gun without any BB's! That's almost as dangerous as bringing a water gun to school!
I can remember when I was in high school that guys who went hunting after school would have their shotguns on the racks in the back windows of their trucks in the school parking lot, and no one cared.

countrygirl 5 years, 7 months ago

I remember the same thing Danimal, but it was the guys who had to go check for baby calves after school and they were having trouble with coyotes.

MyName 5 years, 7 months ago

That was before Columbine and all that other crap, Danimal. But yeah, sometimes the "good old days" really were better.

Practicality 5 years, 7 months ago

"As per school district policy, the child will go through a disciplinary hearing, scheduled for later this week, and the process will “determine his educational future here,” Hayden said."

They are not really thinking about expelling him, are they? Kind of a harsh punishment for a 9 year old, don't you think? Especially at a rural school.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 7 months ago

This is really badly overreacting. Its the kind of thing that makes us think less of school officials not more. Could this child be taken away from his family? Is that what child-in-need-of-care means? His educational future is in doubt? At nine? At some time will this awful thing be expunged from his record? Will he be able to vote? "Nip it in the bud," Barney Fife.

MyName 5 years, 7 months ago

1) Assuming he is even charged, which I think is unlikely, it would definitely not be on his record as an adult. 2) This is likely one of the annoying things about bureaucracy where the person who wrote the policy didn't really think about how it would be interpreted with a situation like this. I don't think expulsion is very likely.

imastinker 5 years, 7 months ago

You're talking about the same school district that just got finished with a large lawsuit. Do you think they are takign any chances?

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/dec/24/student_reaches_440000_settlement_sex_harassment_c/?city_local

I agree. I think a young kid made a stupid decision. Most kids do at some point.

penguin 5 years, 7 months ago

This is what happens when you adopt zero-tolerance policies. They do not allow for flexability in situations like this one. It stinks, but at the same time it is the policy that is set up to deter these actions from taking place. In this instance it is those who set up the bureacracy and not the system itself.

ksdivakat 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, child in need of care, means that the court has been petitioned to intervene with SRS and remove the child from the home as the child is in need of care, other than his parents. This is beyond over reacting, I can see going as far as suspending the kid, but this is a small town and he had no bullets and no intent, he probably wanted to show off for his buddies, but taking it to child in need of care is blowing this wayyy out of proportion!

tbaker 5 years, 7 months ago

My kids go to Tongy Schools. I don't know of a school district with stricter zero-tolerance rules about things like this.

Zero-tolerance is fine so long as it's not used as a substitute for sound judgment and common sense from the people way pay to demonstrate these qualities.

Last January they expelled a 6th grader for the school year for bringing a homemade fire cracker to school (the media called it a bomb).

ferrislives 5 years, 7 months ago

Expelled for an unloaded bbgun...wow, times have really changed. I understand why they've changed, but to possibly expel a 9 year old boy as if he brought a loaded handgun is really ridiculous. Suspension yes; he needs a warning and greater supervision for a while. But expulsion, absolutely not!

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 7 months ago

A child in need of care petition was not filed in this case because SRS is seeking to remove this child from the home. When a person under 10 commits an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult, the child fits the statutory definition of "child in need of care." K.S.A. 38-2202(d)(8)

A child in need of care here is basically the really young kid equivalent of a criminal complaint.

feeble 5 years, 7 months ago

tbaker (Anonymous) says…

Zero-tolerance is fine so long as it's not used as a substitute for sound judgment and common sense from the people way pay to demonstrate these qualities.

=========================== tbaker, this is the very reason why zero-tolerance policies are adopted. Such policy tends to come about because the public, or a portion thereof, was not satisfied with the results of "sound judgment and common sense".

See, for example, mandatory minimums in sentencing guidelines.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 5 years, 7 months ago

It sounds like the county attorney has started a process to determine if the parents were aware of what the child was doing or had even taken the time to explain to him respect for a gun / weapon. It's the parents responsibility to do that, even for a BB gun, as it is a weapon and, if respect is not taught early and with a first weapon, the kid may not treat firearms with the necessary respect (knowing when to use it, when not to, where you can and can't have it, understanding what kind of harm and damage it can cause, knowing how to properly carry it, unload it, clean, care, and store it). People here think it is a toy. Without proper education, and conveying the idea that "it's just a toy", you set the stage for carelessness and disregard of the danger that comes with having a weapon and not respecting it.

It seems to me that people with the "it's a toy" attitude can't even imagine what could happen. Unfortunately, it is precisely because of people that carry that kind of attitude and shirk their responsibilities that the laws and zero-tolerance policies they complain about exist. And it is usually the same people that complain about others needing to take responsibility.

JSDAD 5 years, 7 months ago

They say he had a gun bb or otherwise, but if you dont have bbs or bullits to put in it isn't it really just a club?

a_flock_of_jayhawks 5 years, 7 months ago

JSDAD (Anonymous) says…

"They say he had a gun bb or otherwise, but if you dont have bbs or bullits to put in it isn't it really just a club?"

gun ownership 101: ALWAYS treat a gun as if it is loaded.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 5 years, 7 months ago

Who's to say that he might not use the gun (dart, BB, or otherwise) to threaten someone? It's almost impossible to tell if they have it in their pocket and are brandishing it that way, which, BTW, is a fairly serious offense.

JSDAD 5 years, 7 months ago

how about a little benifit of the doubt, for the good in people instaed of presuming every 9 year old is the next dillinger. ease up

a_flock_of_jayhawks 5 years, 7 months ago

JSDAD, I agree to give him the benefit of the doubt, absolutely. I don't presume that he had ill intentions and the article above states that.

What concerns me is the cavalier attitude toward weapons and the responsibility that comes with them that is apparent in many of the posts on this article. Weapons are dangerous and the responsible message would be to respect them; be educated if you are going to own or use them. As I said, that should be common sense. Obviously, it is not.

JSDAD 5 years, 7 months ago

why do let comments in a newspaper bother you so, it isnt worth it.

tomatogrower 5 years, 7 months ago

Irish (Irish Swearingen) says…

This is really badly overreacting. Its the kind of thing that makes us think less of school officials not more. Could this child be taken away from his family? Is that what child-in-need-of-care means?

Yes, but then Irish, you'd probably be the first to blame the school district when a student gets in with a gun and kills someone. It's always the school's fault. The kid with the gun and his parents are just victims of the school district. The rules are pretty clear. It's posted in the student manuals, which the parents are suppose to read, but probably don't, and I don't know about this school, but most parents have to sign a paper that they received and read the rules. Boo hoo to the parents and the kid. Let them home school him, or enroll him in a virtual school. Can you imagine what the student who reported the gun was thinking? They were probably scared to death. But who cares about that kid right. Poor, poor rule breaker. He probably brought it to intimidate other kids, but poor baby is getting picked on be the big old school district.

workinghard 5 years, 7 months ago

How about we let the people at the school decide what his intentions were since they know him best. If he is a bully, always picking a fight, then he needs to be dealt with. He may have taken it because he is being bullied or beaten up and feels he has to protect himself, then he should be helped. Punished maybe, but definitely helped so he feels safe. Or he may have just been being a kid and didn't realize it was a problem. It's silly to say here what should or should not be done since we really know nothing about kid or his family. I do agree, SRS should stay out of it until school or local authorities ask them to get involved. They need to worry about the kids they already have in their care and make sure they are actually receiving the kind of care we think their getting and are paying for.

slowplay 5 years, 7 months ago

Has anyone considered the fact that the child may indeed need those services? Without any background to go on, too many of you are very quick to pronounce the officials involved of over reacting. Let it play out and then make judgement.

TATOR 5 years, 7 months ago

I am absolutely stunned at the amount of ignorance that exists regarding school issues! Listen up . . . unless you are a law enforcement or school official you have ABSOLUTELY NO idea what the circumstances are behind this story.

School officials aren't going to tell the general public that he did have a motive and that he threatened to kill another student. They can't! Now, if you just slap him on the wrist and send him back to school . . . I promise you there will be outrage!

How many times do we have to sit back and watch kids go through school who are emotionally unstable, who end up killing someone because know one was able to provide the services needed (mental health) to manage his/her behavior.

For all any of you know, this 9 year old could be a ticking time bomb who needs help. Maybe, just maybe, filing a Child in Need of Care petition and expelling this kid will get him the services he needs.

God knows, his parents have not done what they needed to do to this point and probably don't have the means to even do it.

Thank you to law enforcement and school officials who have the training to see that there is a problem and try to solve it without endangering the lives of 700 other students!!!

Amy Heeter 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't know the specific policies of the Tongie school district are but I assume they are much the same as Lawrence.

All weapons should be prohibited on school property and the policy should be enforced. Sure maybe this time it was a BB gun but what if it had been a real gun. The idea that this kid got a weapon into the school ( real or not) is a serious issue.

Absolutely SRS should be involved. What kind of people are raising this child that they would not notice he was taking a gun to school?

compmd 5 years, 7 months ago

If the DA ends up going after this kid, I propose that he also investigate this person and charging him with felony theft:

http://mcgrid.info/images/avatars/hamburglar.gif

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Since various school shooters had a history of behavior that should have clued people in, and somehow adults failed to pay attention, it seems reasonable to me that we pay more attention to things like this.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 7 months ago

Really? A gun was taken to LHS just last year. The student intended to shoot another student. The gun was siezed as a result of another student reporting the young man had a gun.

I know alot of families hunt for sport but maybe parents should consider at what point a gun should be placed in the hands of a child. BB guns are not harmless ask anyone who has ever been shot by one.

KSShy1 5 years, 7 months ago

I hired a man to replace siding and paint the exterior of my house. He was high up on the ladder working when he started yelling for help. As I came around the side of the house, I as pelted by BB's. Two 10ish year old boys were in a backyard nearby shooting a pump BB gun in our direction. Several of the BB's went through my window screen and the glass into my living room. Coming from a nearby yard and still able to do this kind of damage. Luckily my hired help did not fall from the ladder. When I approached the boys, they ran into the house. I knocked but they refused to answer the door. I called the police. All I know is the officer took the BB gun from the boys and later talked to their dad. Their dad payed for my window glass and screen to be replaced. Luckily nobody was hurt, but BB guns are guns. They can hurt, mame, or kill. If not directly, indirectly. They should get the same instructions/care, etc. as any gun.

Shardwurm 5 years, 7 months ago

I feel sorry for the parents. Having been through a similar circumstance years ago this kind of attention really adds a lot of stress.

Nothing to add to the rest of it.

Tongie_soccer 5 years, 7 months ago

I have a son in this school in the same grade and I persoanly want to thank the school officials and others who helped to ensure this did not become a bad situation. They also did an amazing job on Tuesday when the fire alrams went off keeping the kids calm and entertained for the almost 2 hours they had to be evacuated.

To all of you who call this overreacting I say shame on you. The school policy is very clear and this child broke it. The parents and the child must be held accountable for his actions. I am very thankful no one was hurt and hope this young man gets some help (or instruction if he truely didn't have bad intent).

beatrice 5 years, 7 months ago

Not too long ago here in Arizona, a 9 year old boy killed his father and a family friend with a .22 rifle he was given as a present. Think about how young 9 years old is. There is no way they can really think about the consequences of their actions.

If you act like it is okay to bring a bb gun to school one day, the next day another kid might bring something a bit stronger.

Maybe, just maybe, 9 years old is too young to have access to a gun of any sort without adult supervision. http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=6914252&page=1

kansasfire911 5 years, 7 months ago

"Practicality (Anonymous) says… “As per school district policy, the child will go through a disciplinary hearing, scheduled for later this week, and the process will “determine his educational future here,” Hayden said.”

They are not really thinking about expelling him, are they? Kind of a harsh punishment for a 9 year old, don't you think? Especially at a rural school."

They will probably ship him off to be a slow learner from Turner so he can learn proper gun control.

woodenfleaeater 5 years, 7 months ago

I just read a great bumper sticker...I want it...

"If guns kill people... Do pencils misspell words?"

TATOR 5 years, 7 months ago

Here are the facts . . . This kid brought the weapon to school despite other students telling him not to. He has admitted doing so because he wanted to intimidate another student. He threatened to kill a student if they told on him. He has expressed no regrets for what he did. I think this constitutes being a threat to the safety of others.

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