A student at Wedowee Elementary School brought a loaded hand gun to school Monday morning. The gun was confiscated without incident, and no one was harmed.
Randolph County Schools superintendent John Jacobs confirmed that the gun was found in the student’s book bag after a fellow student told a teacher about the weapon.
“The teacher immediately took action and collected the student and his book bag, which after inspection did contain a weapon, and took them to the principal’s office,” Jacobs said in a statement Monday afternoon. “The principal found a weapon in the student’s book bag and notified the School Resource Officer who took custody of the weapon, determined it to be armed, and eliminated the risk of any threat from it.”
The incident took place around 1 p.m.
Jacobs said the investigation into the incident is ongoing and includes the state department of education, the department of human resources, the Wedowee Police Department, and Alabama Law Enforcement. But initial information indicates no signs that the student intended to use the gun while at school.
“We don’t know if he was going to harm anybody, but you simply can’t take any chances in a situation like that,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said he spent the rest of the day Monday and much of the day Tuesday communicating with concerned parents and answering phone calls about the incident.
The student’s identity was not released to the public.
The Randolph County School System’s code of conduct mentions weapons in two separate sections. The first is a general prohibition of weapons on school property.
“Any student who fails to comply with this policy may expect, at a minimum, to be expelled from regular classes for no less than one year,” the code of conduct reads. “However, such student may be disciplined less or more severely, as may be determined appropriate by the superintendent or board on a case-by-case basis. Any student found to have violated this policy will be referred to appropriate law enforcement, juvenile, or criminal justice authorities.”
More specifics for elementary school students are found later in the handbook, under Level 4 violations, which include bringing weapons to school.
That punishment reads, “Suspension for 10 days and recommendation for expulsion or ALC placement dependent upon the age and maturity level of the child at the discretion of the principal, superintendent and/or school board, following the procedures outlined for such action.”
Jacobs confirmed that the student from Monday’s incident was suspended while the investigation continues.
He also praised everyone involved in bringing the issue to light and eliminating the threat of harm, including the student who reported it, the teacher, the principal and the school resource officer.
“To all of the students, faculty, staff and parents of Wedowee Elementary School, as well as all Randolph County Schools, you should know that this incident was handled exceptionally well by all, and we are very thankful for this outcome as the safety of our students is our most important concern,” Jacobs said.