Conflict & Tragedy
Utah sixth grader in custody after bringing gun to school
A sixth grader in Kearns, Utah, brought a .22 caliber handgun to West Kearns Elementary School, saying he feared a school shooting like the one in Newtown, Conn. The boy was taken to a juvenile detention site.
Per Utah's KSL News, the youth has since been charged with one count of possession of a deadly weapon on school property and three counts of aggravated assault. Ashlee Gordon, a parent, took her 7-year-old son home saying, "He's my only kid . . . I don't want to have to be at work and worry about my child not coming home before Christmas."
Parents were fearful and concerned as some said the school did not handle the situation properly. West Kearns authorities didn't put the school on lockdown, and many parents heard about the incident from their children--prior to being notified by school administration.
Allegedly, the student not only brought the gun to school in his backpack but also had ammunition. Officials have not reported whether the bullets were the right size for the gun or if the gun was loaded.
One of the boy's classmates, Isabelle Rios, told her teacher who confiscated the gun from the student. Isabelle also said, "He pulled out a gun and he put it to my head, me and my friend . . . he was going to kill us." She reported the incident to her teacher near the end of the school day but said it occurred during recess. The teacher immediately took the student to the office, and police arrived on the scene within 10 minutes.
Reportedly Ben Horsley, spokesman for the Granite School District, said, "I don't feel this child is an evil person; he just made a bad decision."
Fox News reported the boy said his parents gave him the gun to bring to school for protection against a Connecticut-style shooting.
Initially, the Salt Lake Tribune reported the handgun did not belong to the boy's parents or anyone in his immediate family. A relative, who had recently stayed in the home, left the handgun behind. It's not clear how a gun could be in a home without the parents knowing about it, yet a middle-school child accessed it.
The boy's fear, after the school-shooting in Newtown, Conn., is understandable. But the account of Isabelle, who says the boy held the gun to her head at recess, is disturbing. It doesn't appear that the boy brought the gun to school for protection for himself and classmates at all but that he was trying to "copycat" what the Connecticut shooter did.
It's obvious this child has major issues, and hopefully, he can be helped with the proper intervention. If the boy's parents gave him a gun to carry to school, certainly Child Protective Service will investigate and may remove the child from the home.