Gun found by campus security

Published 4:43 pm Thursday, August 31, 2006

Last Thursday, a hand gun was discovered in a student’s vehicle in the Picayune school district by campus security, said acting Picayune School District Superintendent Brent Harrell.

Harrell said the unnamed student in whose car the gun was found in has been put on the seventh step of the discipline ladder as per school handbook rules.

“We are following the standard procedure where weapons are involved,” Harrell said.

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Picayune Deputy Police Chief David Ervin said, “Information was obtained by one of our campus officers that there was a weapon in a student’s vehicle. Upon further investigation of the information, the weapon was discovered in the vehicle. Details of the situation can not be disclosed because it has to be treated as any other case where we have to protect the identity of the person charged as the law requires because of age. A charge has been filed that is alleging that a weapon was in a vehicle adjacent to a school campus in an area considered used for educational uses and functions. Officers effected arrest due to state law. The weapon was not out of the vehicle or secretly on anyone’s person, still we take this situation very seriously and enforce state law accordingly.”

Harrell said that school handbook regulations mandate that on step seven of the disciplinary ladder a student’s parents are notified and the student is placed on a nine-day, out-of-school suspension. The incident will be reviewed during a disciplinary hearing where the student will be recommended for expulsion, he said. After the disciplinary hearing, the Picayune school board will determine the next step at their first or second meeting in September, he said.

The unnamed juvenile also will face the charge of possession of a firearm on school property in juvenile court, Ervin said.

Residents are urged to not take this incident as a threat to the school’s safety.

“We have an incident and we’ve handled it the way the handbook states it to be handled and we’re following our procedures,” Harrell said. “I feel certain that our students and staff are safe.”

“I feel confident in the officers that are (at the school) and confident in the safety of the students,” Ervin said. “We have an excellent school system and excellent officers providing security for the students.”