First-grader brings gun to school

FLINT TWP. — Police are investigating an incident March 25 in which a first-grade student brought a gun to school at Carman-Ainsworth’s Dye Elementary on Graham Road.

Police did not respond to a request for details about the investigation but a letter sent out to parents from Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff provided some information about what happened.

Shortly after school began Monday, morning, some students made their teacher aware that a first-grade student had what appeared to be a small gun a backpack, Tunnicliff said in the letter.

Following protocol, school officials confiscated the backpack and notified the Flint Township Police Department. Upon arrival, officers confirmed there was an unloaded small-caliber firearm in the backpack.

Police also determined that there was no immediate safety concern for students and staff and moved forward with their investigation of student with the weapon and family, Tunnicliff said.

“Although it is disheartening to hear that a young student may have made such a significant mistake in bringing something like this to school, we are encouraged that our other students followed what they have been taught, and that the school protocols in place were followed,” he said.

After ensuring safety and completing the school’s investigation, the principal Detra Fields and a counselor met with the students in the classroom and commended them for following the rules and reassured them that everything was all right.

Tunnicliff said despite the fact the weapon was unloaded and did not pose a threat to students, as a parent, he wanted to make Dye parents aware of what happened and how it was handled.

School administrators made an effort to communicate personally with all families of students impacted the classroom, he said.

He added that he was pleased by the appropriate actions taken by all involved to ensure school safety which allowed the students to continue a normal school day.

But he asked parents to stress to their children the importance of telling a adult at school when they see something that looks “unsafe.”

He would not comment on disciplinary action but C-A’s student code of conduct prohibits brining weapons to school including fake ones.

In the wake of the incident, some C-A parents expressed that concern on the schools Facebook page. A few even called for installation of metal detectors at the school.

School safety is of utmost concern, especially in the wake of an incident in Connecticut in December in which an outside (adult) gunman broke into an elementary school and shot dead 20 students and six adults before turning the gun on himself.

Closer to home, many may recall that 13 years ago a first-grade elementary school student in the Beecher district brought a gun to school with tragic consequences. In an incident that made international headlines, six-year-old Kayla Rolland was shot and killed by a classmate, also age 6, who brought a loaded gun to school. The boy was too young to be charged but the adult who left the weapon where the child found it was charged and served time.

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