Classmates, admin say Arkansas student had gun at school for safety before arrest

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HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Students at a Helena-West Helena school want people to know there are two sides to every story after their classmate was arrested for bringing a gun onto campus.

These students, like Jaisetea Jefferson, don’t condone their classmates actions, but they want to shed light on a deeper issue.

Jefferson is just like any other student at KIPP Delta Public Schools. She goes to class each day looking to get her education so that she can make something out of her life.

But she said it’s hard knowing that heading to class could put her life in danger.

“You can’t walk to school without worrying about hearing gunshots, getting robbed or anything of that sorts,” she said. “It’s not what it should be.”

Derek Carlock Jr., 18

Three of Jefferson’s classmates were arrested Tuesday for allegedly bringing a gun to the school campus, including 18-year-old Derek Carlock.

“We really feel bad for my classmate, especially, because he’s a good student, but he just wanted to be safe,” Jefferson said.

Just this past May, the school recognized Carlock for being accepted into a program meant to help students learn to be a leader of character.

Jefferson said while she doesn’t support her classmates actions, she thinks the issue is the community itself.

“The area where our school is located has had multiple incidents over the last several weeks and last several years,” said KIPP Delta Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Amy Charpentier.

Charpentier said students are put on lock-down several times a year, primarily for shootings in the area. It even happened again while WREG was at the school for this story when shots were fired nearby.

“We’re just expected to look over this, and we can’t,” Jefferson said.

Charpentier said the district is working to provide a safe environment for everyone; however, she said bringing a weapon to campus is not the answer.

“One bad decision causes some consequences, but it is not who our students are, and it does not represent our full student body,” she said.

The district said all three students will go before the school board to determine whether or not they will expelled.

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