Parents not notified after student's gun discharged in cafeteria - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Parents not notified after student's gun discharged in cafeteria

SCS sent a letter home with students, but that was a little late for parents who showed up at the school to pick up their children early. SCS sent a letter home with students, but that was a little late for parents who showed up at the school to pick up their children early.
Officials say at the time there was not any direct threat to students or staff. Officials say at the time there was not any direct threat to students or staff.

(WMC-TV) - Parents want to know why they were not notified from school officials Thursday morning when a gun reportedly went off in an elementary school cafeteria.

According to Shelby County Schools, the gun discharged from a five-year-old student's backpack around 7:40 a.m. at Westside Elementary School in Frayser. After staff took control of the situation and detained the student, SCS security was contacted at 7:49 a.m. Security called police to assist with the investigation at 7:53 a.m.

Officials say at the time there was not any direct threat to students or staff. Many parents found out about the fired shot from media outlets and not the school. An update was sent to parents via phone from the district in the afternoon.

SCS sent a letter home with students, but that was a little late for parents who showed up at the school to pick up their children early. Some frustrated parents say their children will not be coming back to this school.

"They shouldn't have guns laying around where a child at that age could bring it to school of any age," said parent Ruthie Sykes.

Also, parents say they should not have to turn on the television to find out their children might be in danger.

"No one from the school notified anyone. I had to get the call from my aunt. It's a good thing she was looking at the news," said parent Arielle Showers.

Charles Taylor, a newly Elected member of the Frayser Neighborhood Association, says school safety will be top of mind during an upcoming education summit.

"It's very shocking because we were just here yesterday planning for an educational summit that's supposed to take place on the 26 of this month," he said.

A spokesperson for Shelby County Schools was unclear about how parents are notified if there is a crisis at the school up and upset what had happened.

"We are equally as concerned as parents and we take it very seriously that this happened, it happens that this child brought a gun to school in his backpack," said Shelby County Schools Chief Communication Officer Emily Yellin.

Even at the elementary level, parents say student backpacks should be searched at home and at school. Parents hold both the school and that child's parents responsible for an incident that could have been much worse.

"The child should have been checked before he left home the school they need to be checked thoroughly because you never know what's going on with these kids," said Showers.

School resumed at Westside Elementary School once the situation was brought under control.

  • To read a variety of statements from Shelby County Schools, click here.
  • To read the letter sent home to parents Thursday afternoon, click here.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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