School counselor will not face charges for bringing pistol onto campus

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A local high school counselor will not face felony criminal charges for reportedly bringing a pistol onto campus.

Prosecuting Attorney Mike Walden said he found no evidence of purposeful or knowing intent to possess a firearm on school property after a Westside school employee found a loaded Kel-Tec .32 pistol underneath the seat of a school-owned vehicle last month.

According to Walden, Kami Barkley, who is listed on the district's web site as a counselor, simply forgot that she had left the gun in the vehicle after making the appropriate decision to not take the gun into a building on campus.

In the meantime, Dr. Bryan Duffie, the Westside superintendent, hinted that the district's own internal investigation should be resolved in the next few weeks and could require action by the school board.

"Safety and security are a big concern for any school," he said, "so if there's any situation that develops that is a breach of that, then we're going to act quickly regardless of whose involved or what needs to be done. We'll take the appropriate action."

Local law enforcement said Barkley was temporarily suspended from her job during the investigation, though the superintendent would not confirm that information.

Dr. Duffie said no alert went out to faculty, students or parents when the gun was found.

"As quickly as it was found and getting the security staff involved immediately," Duffie said, "that diffused that situation pretty quickly." He said there was no evidence suggesting a threat to campus safety or security.

An employee found the gun when they returned a school-owned vehicle to the bus shop across the street from the high school; it slid out and hit the driver's foot.

Investigators traced the gun's registration to Barkley, whose attorney confirmed Monday that she has a concealed carry license.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and provide any updates as soon as they are available.

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