Student says he brought loaded gun to school for protection

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — A 15-year-old was taken into custody Tuesday for bringing a gun to White Station High School.

Authorities received an anonymous tip at about 9 a.m., and found both the student and the weapon, a loaded .32-caliber Colt revolver, in class.

When the Spatts picked up their two boys from school, they saw a letter from the principal saying “a classmate was in possession of a firearm.”

“That’s difficult to believe a child was walking around with six live rounds,” said Kathy Spatt.

“I was concerned, very concerned, because it’s dangerous to have a loaded weapon in school,” said Roger Spatt.

“Thank God, no one was vengeful enough to start using it. I think the school took the right action and handled it really professionally,” he added.

The principal said a student told his teacher his classmate had a gun, and the school immediately called deputies.

The student told detectives he brought the gun for protection. Several parents told WREG it was over a pair of tennis shoes.

“When I was a kid, we duked it out! Now kids just shoot each other,” said Ferrell Thomas.

Thomas lives across from the school and never heard of any bad behavior before.

“Not in the least. Everybody that I’ve seen here has been well behaved and quiet for school kids,” said Thomas.

As for the Spatts, they’re not worried for their kids’ safety, convinced this is an isolated incident. They say their biggest concern is where the student got the gun.

“It is not the schools fault. It is the parent’s fault for letting their kids have access to something like that,” said Roger.

Deputies are working to find that out.

WREG is told there are metal detectors at the school. No word if they were turned on Tuesday morning.

The following letter was sent home to parents:

Dear Parent or Guardian,

I am writing to inform you of a situation that occurred at our school today.

This morning, a faculty member received a tip from a student that a classmate was in possession of a firearm. The school’s Shelby County Deputies and Memphis Police Officer responded and investigated. They immediately took possession of the weapon. As a result of the staff and officers’ immediate action, no students or staff were injured.

While there was no incident involving the firearm, I want to be very clear that weapons of any kind are prohibited on campus. In addition to being arrested, the student will be disciplined in accordance with the District’s policy.

We want to commend the student who came forward with information about a weapon on campus. Parents, please be assured that we take all incidents involving the safety of our students and staff seriously, and students are always encouraged to report safety concerns to our staff.

We appreciate you working with us to ensure White Station High School remains a safe learning environment. Should you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact the school.

Thank you for your continued support of White Station High.

David Mansfield


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