Gun Goes Off Inside a Kindergartner’s Backpack At Memphis School

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Police say no one was hurt Thursday when a gun went off inside a 5-year-old kindergartner’s backpack in a Memphis elementary school.

Students were waiting in the cafeteria of Westside Elementary School for the first school bell when the gun went off.

Shelby County school district said the bag was immediately taken and the child detained.

Police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said police are unsure how the gun got into the child’s backpack. Thursday afternoon officers were still questioning the child, with the child’s mother present.

The school district said that students were kept calm and safe while incident was handled, but that there was no evidence of harmful intent.

A letter was sent to parents to inform them of the incident, said district spokeswoman Stefani Everson. While the school has a ParentLink communication system to inform parents of a school emergency, it was not used because it was "an isolated and controlled situation that occurred before the school day started and did not involve any individual or school-wide threat," Everson said in an email.

"However, weapons of any kind are prohibited on campuses, and this student will be disciplined in accordance with the state's zero tolerance policy," the school board said in a statement.

That zero tolerance policy means "certain, swift and reasoned punishment."

The 5-year-old could face a 180-day suspension.

Sources: MSN, CNN