Student Carries Gun on School Bus
By: Holly Brantley
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. --A 9-year old who allegedly waved a gun on a school bus now is in trouble with Butler County Juvenile authorities. A decision may come soon on placing him in the detention center for children.
It happened Wednesday afternoon around 4pm. Parents were frightened when they heard the story.
"I totally freaked out," said Gina Preston. "I couldn't believe it."
Police say the student goes to Eugene Field Elementary School. Superintendent, Ernie Lawson, says the child could have carried the gun around in his backpack all day. That's something that troubles school officials and parents like Gina Preston.
"Especially with all the shootings at schools," said Preston. "It makes you wonder what we can do."
Police and juvenile authorities want to know the same thing. "It's something that alarms the community," said Poplar Bluff Police Department Capt., Jeff Rolland. "It's very near and dear to our hearts anytime our children are put in harms way."
It turns out the pellet gun wasn't working. Still, the incident could mean big trouble for the young boy. He could even spend time in a juvenile center similar to an adult jail.
"This young man is young enough we aren't concerned about fleeing," said Juvenile Attorney, Dean Million. "But, we do want to make sure he's not a danger to himself or the community."
"This is unusual. We've dealt with young people before, but this would be the youngest I've dealt with since I've held this position," said Lesi Smith. Smith has served as the Chief Juvenile Officer for three years.
Meanwhile, parents like Gina say there has to be a way to keep guns out of school, and off school buses.
"I guess we're going to get to an age where all the schools have metal detectors," said Preston.
Superintendent Ernie Lawson says each parent with a child riding the bus was personally called. This was done to notify them of the situation, and also to silence rumors.
School Administrators plan to review procedures. They've even discussed requiring clear backpacks, or even banning backpacks entirely.