ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – A north St. Louis elementary school is reeling after it was discovered a student brought a gun to school. But the information being released by the school system is just a fraction of the story being told by young children and their parents who say the thirteen year old sixth grader had been terrorizing kids at the school all week.
Imagine hearing such a tale from your third grader: “He came out of nowhere with a gun and he put it to my head,” Derek told us with his mom sitting nearby.
His cousin Brendon, a fourth grader, picked up the story. “I didn’t tell nobody cuz I was scared to. He frightened me so bad I didn’t want to tell nobody because I thought he was gonna shoot me.”
They are two of at least four children whose families say a gun toting child threatened them with a weapon, then scared them into silence this week.
“I didn’t tell nobody cuz I was scared to,” Brendon said. “He frightened me so bad I didn’t want to tell nobody because I thought he was gonna shoot me.”
St. Louis school system officials won’t comment on any of these allegations. All they’ll say is that administrators at Jefferson Elementary on Hogan Avenue learned of the weapon Wednesday, and recovered it.
“The principal along with the school safety officer here at the building were able to locate the weapon and also determine which student brought the weapon into the building,” spokesman Patrick Wallace said.
But multiple parents, some interviewed independently of one another, say the student had been harassing students with the pistol since Monday. And they want to know why it wasn’t found sooner.
“At some point a teacher should have been around,” parent Claudia Guiden said. “There’s plenty of kids he pulled this gun on. It’s not just these kids, it’s a lot of kids. He had this whole school scared of him.”
Anthony Rowell, whose fiancé was interviewed by police about another alleged attack on their son, is equally furious.
“I’m terrified. You gotta look at losing a child. What if the gun had accidentally went off? Then my second thing is how did he get a gun into school at all?”
That is one of a number of questions the school system won’t answer, citing the investigation and the involvement of a juvenile. And the fact they aren’t telling parents much either is also a sticking point.
“When you call them and ask them about it they say they can’t give you no information, Nikki Bohlen complained. “Then they send something home in the child’s book bag!”
School officials say there are “teachable moments” in all this.
“It’s an opportunity for the principal to share with the students that we’re all responsible for the safety,” Wallace said, “so if they see or hear something they need to report it to an adult.”
But parents say their kids were scared to tell anyone, even them. And the damage, they say, is done.
“I don’t even know if I want him to come back to school tomorrow,” Nikita Lampkin said.
And Guiden talked about the future of Jefferson Elementary. “You wouldn’t think an elementary school would need metal detectors, but apparently they do.”
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