Delay Between Time Gun Went Off In SCS School And Police Told

(Memphis) A gun brought by a 5-year-old student went off Thursday morning at Westside Elementary.

Memphis police say no one was hurt.

The gun, which was in a backpack at the time, went off in the cafeteria.

Yellin said there were three staff members in the cafeteria when the gun went off, “They believe another backpack or book bag hit the backpack and the gun went off.”

Shelby County Schools spokeswoman Emily Yellin said the gun went off at 7:38 Thursday morning in the schools cafeteria as students waited for school to start.

School officials say they notified MPD at 7:53 a.m. that a gun was found but did not tell police the gun had gun off until 8:20 a.m.

Dozens of parents ran to Westside Elementary once the news broke Thursday morning.

“I was just trying to hurry up and get here because he’s four, so I’m pretty sure he’s in the same lunch as that child,” said Ruthie Sikes about her grandson.

“I feel a little safer with her at home,” said parent LV White.

Many parents were not happy they weren’t first notified by the school, but news reports.

“He didn’t get to school until close to 9, so I’m wondering why they didn’t let her know before she dropped him off,” said Sikes.

Now many parents are wanting the school to add more security measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“We need to do something like add metal detectors or something when the kids are coming in to avoid these situations,” said parent Preston Warmsley.

Yellin said the schools safety plan worked and that all staff is trained.

“Every school is covered by a security officer from our department or more than one. We coordinate with MPD, we coordinate with SCSO. I can assure you that more than just human beings are employed as well,” said Yellin.

A letter went home to parents from the principal about seven hours after the incident, alerting them to what happened and asking them to check their child’s back pack each day.

In the letter to those parents, SCS said the parent alert system 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…”

“Anytime an incident happens of course we review everything that happened to see if there’s anything we could change,” added Yellin.

Statement from SCS:

“This morning at Westside Elementary School, a Kindergarten student brought a firearm to school in his backpack. While waiting for the opening bell in the cafeteria, the firearm discharged accidentally inside the child’s backpack. Nobody was injured, and staff immediately took possession of the backpack. SCS Security and the Memphis Police Department responded quickly, and the matter is now under investigation. There is no evidence at this time of harmful intent; 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 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.”

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