Oak Harbor student expelled after bringing gun to Crescent Harbor Elementary
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
September 15, 2011 · Updated 4:15 PM
A fourth-grader from Crescent Harbor Elementary was expelled Wednesday after employees discovered he had brought a handgun to school.
School officials discovered the 9-year-old boy was carrying a loaded .45 caliber Ruger, with the safety on, in his backpack.
Oak Harbor Police Chief Rick Wallace said the student was taken into custody this morning and then released to his parents. Officers are still investigating the incident.
“We don’t have any indication of any planned violence,” Wallace said adding at this point in time, the preliminary investigation shows the boy brought the gun to school to show off to other students.
School staff discovered the gun before the opening bell Wednesday morning and police responded at approximately 9 a.m.
It looks as though Wednesday’s incident was the second time in as many days that the fourth-grader had brought a gun to school, said Joe Hunt, spokesperson for the Oak Harbor School District.
Hunt said the student allegedly brought a different handgun to school Tuesday. A female student spotted the gun on the bus. She told one of her parents who, in turn, called the school Wednesday morning.
The Oak Harbor School District and the state of Washington have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to guns in school. State law and school board policy says any student who brings a firearm to school is immediately expelled for a minimum of one year, according to a letter sent to parents.
Hunt said the incident is a good reminder of the dangers and consequences of bringing firearms to school.
Hunt said letters outlining the incident were sent to parents of students at Crescent Harbor Elementary and parents of students who may have ridden the same bus as the now-expelled student.
The Crescent Harbor Elementary School principal will visit all classrooms tomorrow to talk with students about the incident, Hunt said.
In addition, teachers and staff at other Oak Harbor School District schools will talk with students about the the consequences of bringing a gun to school, safety concerns and the importance of reporting any such incident to adults, according to the letter.
Wallace said officers continue to investigate the gun incident and they are determining if criminal charges can be filed against a boy who is so young.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.