Teen sentenced to probation for bringing gun to Lawrence High School
photo by: Journal-World File Photo
A teen boy convicted of bringing a gun to Lawrence High School was sentenced Wednesday to nine months of probation.
The charges stem from an incident on Feb. 6, when the boy reportedly threw his school-issued laptop at a door, breaking the window in the door, the Journal-World reported. The boy was then called to the office of an assistant principal, who had also heard from other students that the boy might have a gun.
Prosecutor Bryant Barton said previously that the state’s evidence showed the assistant principal checked the boy’s bag and found a loaded handgun inside. There was no incident with the gun, and no students or staff were threatened with it, the district said at the time.
The boy pleaded no contest on June 26 and was convicted as a juvenile for misdemeanor criminal use of a weapon, specifically a gun with a barrel less than 12 inches long, the Journal-World reported. A charge of property damage was dismissed with the plea.
As part of his plea deal, the boy must pay $202 in restitution to cover the damaged window at LHS. He must also serve 100 hours of community service to pay off a lost electronic monitoring bracelet. Judge Paul Klepper did not elaborate on the circumstances of that loss but said the bracelets cost about $2,500 apiece.
The boy must continue to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, and he must attend Douglas County Detention Day School and participate in the Youth Advocate Mentoring program. He must submit to random searches and testing, “drug or otherwise,” as a condition of his probation.
He is to have no weapons and no contact with anyone who has weapons or any known offenders. He also cannot have any contact with gangs or wear anything that would represent him as a member of a gang.
He must also get permission from his probation officer before leaving the state.
The boy is eligible for good time credit of one week per month, the judge said.
Klepper said there are still elements of his probation to be determined, but he told the teen that “the easier you make it on them, the easier they’ll make it on you.”
The boy’s exact age was not available, but he was born in 2004, according to court records. As of his June 26 conviction, he was enrolled at LHS, district spokeswoman Julie Boyle said at the time.
In February, Boyle said the school would take disciplinary action in accordance with board policy, which states that “possession of a weapon shall result in expulsion from school for a period of not less than one calendar year, except that the superintendent may recommend this expulsion requirement be modified on a case-by-case basis.”
The Douglas County Detention Day School, which the boy must now attend as part of his probation, is a program that includes instruction by school district staff in a highly supervised correctional environment at a special Douglas County facility. According to the county’s website, students in the program can be eligible to transition back to public school if they meet certain behavioral benchmarks, are in compliance with probation conditions, are caught up on coursework and have a recommendation from school staff.
In an incident reported at the school just a week later, on Feb. 12, another teen brought a loaded gun to school. That teen pleaded no contest to the same misdemeanor charge and was sentenced July 3 to six months of probation, including house arrest, the Journal-World reported.
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• June 26, 2019: Teen convicted of bringing gun to LHS in his backpack