- By Parker Perry Staff Writer
A 6-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun to Kenwood Elementary School on Thursday, the sixth incident involving school safety in the past two weeks.
On Wednesday night, a Mechanicsburg Middle School student was arrested after allegedly making a threat against the school, according to police.
And last week a student brought a gun to Simon Kenton Elementary School, a Facebook post calling for violence at ‘SHS’ went viral, Springfield-Clark County CTC locked down after a social media threat and a Northwestern student was arrested for a Snapchat threat.
The gun found at Kenwood was discovered by a teacher about 8:15 a.m., Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf said. No students were harmed, district spokeswoman Cherie Moore said.
Graf credited the school for doing everything right. The teacher took the weapon and the student to the principal’s office, the chief said.
According to the police report and an interview with Graf, the child gave police two stories. At first he claimed his mother put the gun in his backpack.
“(The child) said, ‘It’s nothing, it’s just a gun. My mom put it in my bag,’” the police report says.
The mother denied that and told police she doesn’t allow guns in her home.
Officers talked to the boy more and he allegedly told them he found the gun while walking to school. The child opened the door of an unlocked vehicle parked in a driveway, found the gun and took it, the chief said.
The boy will be charged with bringing a weapon onto school property, Graf said, and was taken to juvenile detention.
Springfield City Schools answered few questions, saying only there was an incident, police were investigating, all students were safe and classes continued. School officials said they were unavailable for interviews Thursday.
“We continue to reflect on our current safety policies and we are working closely with law enforcement experts to ensure that our school buildings continue to be the safest places for our students,” Superintendent Bob Hill said in a statement. “We encourage all adults to remind students to be diligent in reporting anything that feels out of place.”
Kenwood Principal Ally Thurman sent a letter to parents Thursday morning alerting them of a weapon at the school.
“Law enforcement was immediately notified and the situation was quickly handled,” the letter obtained by the Springfield News-Sun says. “The student will face discipline in accordance with our student code of conduct.”
Thurman sent a second letter home on Thursday, saying the district will talk to students.
“We will start our morning sharing about the incident of today,” Thurman said.”We will listen to students and talk about school safety. There will be a counselor on hand for any student needing additional assistance.”
The incident was scary, parent Tina Leslie said.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “It’s so dangerous out there anyway but a 6-year-old? I don’t know.”
She was happy with the way the school handled the situation.
Parent Chandra Theetge said she appreciated how the district was fast to act and alert parents.
“They did a great job preventing a potential tragedy,” she said. “Much love to all the hard working and caring staff who keep our babies safe day in and day out.”
Kenwood has more than 450 students enrolled, according to the Ohio Department of Education, and about 30 teachers.
It’s a good time to talk to kids about gun safety, Graf said.
“It’s also an opportunity to remind adults to keep guns secured,” he said.
He doesn’t anticipate filing charges against the car owner at this time.
The gun is the latest in a string of issues facing Clark and Champaign County schools.
A Mechanicsburg Middle School student was arrested Wednesday on a delinquency charge after accusations the student of made a threat at the school.
The juvenile was taken into custody about 3:15 p.m., police Lt. David Patrick said.
He declined to divulge details about the nature of the threat, but said, “there is no risk to any students or staff at the school.”
The administrators received information regarding the threat after school, Mechanicsburg Superintendent Danielle Prohaska said in an email to parents.
Police, the school resource officer and administrators responded immediately and conducted a thorough investigation.
School threats are serious, Prohaska said.
“We take all threats made against student safety seriously until proven otherwise,” she said in the email. “I continue to ask for your help in reinforcing the importance of speaking up and speaking out.”
The school operated as normal on Thursday, Prohaska said, citing no danger to students.
A Springfield High School student also is accused of making a threat against the high school on Feb. 21.
The student, who hasn’t been named by authorities, had a court appearance postponed on Wednesday because the attorneys in the case requested more time to prepare, Clark County Juvenile Court officials said. She’s due back in court Tuesday.