First grader brings weapon to class
By LPR Staff
An often imitated plot in crime drama television shows played out in Lockhart on Monday afternoon when school officials – and later police – discovered an area first grader had come to school with a gun.
According to information released by LISD Superintendent Dr. Jose Parra on Tuesday morning, a Navarro Elementary School student repor
ted to his teacher, near the end of the school day, that a classmate had what appeared to be a handgun in his backpack.
After seizing the backpack and reporting the occurrence to administrators and the Lockhart Police Department School Resource Officer, it was confirmed that 6-year-old boy was carrying an unloaded, rusted, small-caliber handgun in his backpack.
Parra said school administrators and the police department interviewed the child and his family on Monday evening. He confirmed that further dealing with the situation, through the school district, will be handled as a disciplinary matter, but confirmed the child was back in school on Tuesday morning.
Lockhart Police Chief Mike Lummus confirmed the situation on Tuesday morning, and said his department’s investigation points to the idea that the incident is isolated, and most likely a matter of “curiosity.”
“With a 6-year-old in the first grade, it’s likely that it was just a matter of he wanted to take it to school and show his friends,” Lummus said. “There was no ammunition, and after talking to the student and his parents, there is no reason to believe this is something that was going to escalate any further than just that.”
Lummus emphasized his department had been in contact with LISD at the highest levels throughout the incident, to make sure that all communications between the two were clear, and to best determine the way to notify parents of the situation.
“I can honestly say that everything worked just the way it was supposed to,” Lummus said. “After the situation last spring where there were some communication breakdowns, that let us see that there were some procedures that needed to be put into place. We put those things in place, and all in all, even though we hate to get a call like that, everything turned out very well.”
Both Lummus and Parra said they were notified of the situation almost immediately after it was reported to administrators and police, and have been working together, and with the rest of their respective organizations, to make sure parents are well-informed, as well.
“If this was a case of an older student, at the junior high or one of the secondary campuses, I’d be more concerned,” Lummus said. “And I certainly don’t want to downplay it, because it could have been so much worse. But there is no need for parents to panic about it, either, because, based on my experience and our interviews with the child and his family, there was no malicious intent… We think it really was just a little boy being curious [about the handgun.]”
Additionally, Lummus said, LPD’s interviews with the family suggest that gun was stored on the upper shelf of a closet, away from any ammunition, and had been there for so long the child’s parents had “forgotten it was there.” It is likely the boy stood on a chair to reach something else on the shelf, and found the gun at that time.
Lummus said on Tuesday he did not foresee criminal charges being filed against the parents.
Both Lummus and Parra asked parents to use the situation both as a wake-up call and a “teachable moment.” Lummus said parents need to make sure, if they do own weapons, that those weapons are secure and that children know they are off limits.
“I ask that you… help confirm with [your children] the role they play in keeping our school safe,” Parra wrote in a letter to be distributed to Navarro Elementary School parents on Tuesday. “Please remind them that when they learn that a prohibited item is on campus that they should always… inform a teacher or a principal as soon as possible.”