A loaded handgun was found inside of a student’s backpack at Oak Park Elementary School in Ocean Springs.
The gun was found by a teacher during a safety check that is done each morning. The teacher removed the gun and reported it to the office. The message was relayed to the police and the superintendent’s office. Captain William Jackson with the Ocean Springs PD said that the gun was left in the backpack of the special needs child by the guardian.
The child’s guardian brought the gun with her to close up her business over the weekend and did not take it out. Superintendent Bonita Coleman says that in today’s climate it becomes all the more important to keep guns away from small children.
“This is a conversation about being a responsible gun owner, and I say that as a gun owner. One of the first things we are taught in gun safety class is to always make sure that your weapon is secure,” Coleman said.
Coleman went on to say that while no one was injured, they need to take the necessary precautions to ensure this does not happen again.
“Adults need to begin to have the conversation about what does it mean to be a responsible gun owner and that we are taking the right to own a gun very seriously because of course, we are very thankful that nothing happened today, but we are very much aware that these are not the conditions we want brought into our schools.”
School safety is of the utmost importance to Coleman and school superintendents everywhere, and she says that to achieve that goal, they must have cooperation.
“We want to keep our schools safe,” Coleman said. “That is our number one goal as administrators and teachers, but we need the help of our community and parents as well.”
No charges have been filed against the child’s guardian, but Jackson said that the case will be presented to a Grand Jury.