SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A student at Westport Middle School is suspended from class for up to 10 days as an investigation continues into why he brought a gun and ammo to school on Monday.
The boy did not make any threats with the weapon, school officials said, but it was a violation of Springfield Public Schools policy to bring it to school.
In a message sent to Westport parents on Monday officials said, “This evening, we investigated a tip that a student displayed a gun to others after school today. Working in cooperation with school police officers, we have determined that the weapon was in the student’s possession at school today. However, it was never displayed or used in a threatening manner while at school.”
The incident came to light after the child showed it to other students as they walked home from school, according to SPS Communications Director Stephen Hall.
“We have a zero tolerance for any weapon at school,” Hall said, “and so we are implementing the appropriate discipline. We also communicated with families late last night as soon as we had confirmation that this did indeed occur. And so all of that allowed us to have a swift resolution to the investigation and so that we can move forward from here.”
It was not clear where the gun had been through the school day or whether it had been loaded, he said.
For one parent, hearing about the incident was cause for concern, especially following the recent Nashville shootings.
“I watch the news, I pay attention, and I know all the craziness that’s going on in the country,” said Westport parent Joshua Ingram. “But I shouldn’t have to worry about sending my kid to school. That’s ridiculous.”
Ingram also said student safety should be a top priority.
“They could put in a bunch of metal detectors, they could start searching everybody’s bags,” Ingram said. “But at that point, we’ve, what’s the point of even having school?”
According to the SPS handbook, the district’s “no tolerance” gun policy says a first-time offense for weapons possession by a middle schooler is punishable by a minimum of three days in-school suspension and a maximum of 10 day out-of-school suspension.
The handbook goes on to day the superintendent can extend the student’s suspension for up to 180 school days. From there, the superintendent has the option to recommend the student’s expulsion to the board of education if they find no mitigating circumstances for the weapons violation.