A 5-year-old boy in Tennessee brought a handgun to school Thursday, and it accidentally fired in his backpack.
The boy, a kindergarten student at Westside Elementary School in Memphis, was in the cafeteria waiting for the morning bell when the weapon went off. Only one round was fired, and the bullet did not hit anybody. The child was taken into police custody after the incident.
Shelby County Schools issued a statement saying “The firearm discharged accidentally inside the child’s backpack. Nobody was injured and staff immediately took possession of the backpack.”
Although there is no sign that the boy intended to shoot anybody with the gun, the district said, “Weapons of any kind are prohibited on campuses, and this student will be disciplined in accordance with the state's zero tolerance policy.”
They continued,” The safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance. Staff is trained to handle emergency situations, and all students were kept safe and calm while this matter was handled."
Parents were not notified of the incident, and some learned what happened by watching the news.
In a later statement, a district representative explained this by saying, "The district has a ParentLink system (automated calls) which is generally used for school-wide emergency situations. Because this was an isolated and controlled situation that occurred before the school day started and did not involve any individual or school-wide threat, the system was not used. Letters to parents will be going home with students this afternoon."
Concerned parent Preston Warmley stated, "We're gonna have to get together to see what we should do from this moment on because you know what you can do when you're sitting back watching it on the news but when it's happening right in your face, that's a lot."
This incident occurred just two days after a Michigan boy died upon accidentally shooting himself in the face with a gun left on the a closet floor.