Parents concerned with handling of EPC gun incident - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Parents concerned with handling of EPC gun incident

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LEPANTO, AR (KAIT) - Parents of East Poinsett County Schools students are concerned with how school administrators handled a gun incident on campus.

According to a letter from EPC Schools Superintendent Michael Pierce, administrators learned "unloaded guns were brought to the Lepanto campus earlier this year."

Supt. Pierce sent the following letter to parents Wednesday, May 8:

 

May 7, 2013

Dear Parent,

We have recently learned that unloaded guns were brought to the Lepanto campus earlier this year.  Our investigation is complete and appropriate disciplinary action is pending.  We are taking steps to ensure that all students of East Poinsett County are aware of our policy concerning weapons and guns, and the importance of coming forward with any information about violations of that policy that may occur, so that a prompt response is possible.   If you have any questions feel free to contact me at 870-475-2472 extension 1003.

Sincerely,

Micky Pierce

Superintendent

East Poinsett County School District

 

"When I read it I actually screamed out in anger more than anything," said Holly Jennings, mother of a kindergarten student.

"I think they should have notified us before now," said parent Melissa Barnes.

"It's upsetting because when they found out is when we should've gotten a letter," said grandparent Teresa Bryan.

Supt. Pierce said he was notified Monday, May 6, a high school student brought unloaded guns to school on two separate occasions in January and  February.  Lepanto Police Captain David Layman said the student went to administrators and admitted he brought the guns to school.

According to police, administrators notified law enforcement Monday, May 6, about the student's admission. After an investigation was completed, the student who brought the guns was taken into custody Tuesday, May 7, and remains incarcerated at a juvenile detention facility.

Supt. Pierce revealed two additional high school students were involved in the incidents.  Two of the students have expulsion hearings scheduled during the next regular school board meeting Monday, May 13.

The May 13 hearing for the student in custody could be rescheduled, depending on whether the student has to remain in custody, according to Supt. Pierce.

The third student has an expulsion hearing scheduled Monday, May 20.  Parents of the three students chose to make the hearings private.

According to the 2012-2013 EPC student handbook,

"students found to be in possession on the school campus of a firearm shall be recommended for expulsion for a period of not less than one year. The superintendent shall have the discretion to modify such expulsion recommendation for a student on a case-by-case basis. Parents or legal guardians of students expelled under this policy shall be given a copy of the current laws regarding the possibility of parental responsibility for allowing a child to possess a firearm on school property."

Lepanto police have not said what prompted the student to tell administrators he brought the guns or whether he will face charges.

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