School officials and law enforcement were notified of an 11-year-old Carver Heights Elementary student who brought an air-soft gun to school Friday afternoon.
“The school quickly investigated, notified law enforcement and the item was located in the child’s backpack,” said Ken Derksen, public information officer for Wayne County Public Schools. “From my understanding, he might have been showing some students on the bus but, of course, I don’t have that information if he was telling or showing at this time.”
School authorities became aware of the air-soft gun after another student notified the driver of school bus 476 after school hours. Dersken said the driver of the bus returned to the school and notified school officials and law enforcement.
No charges were filed by Goldsboro police against the student, said LaToya Henry, Goldsboro public information officer. No injuries were reported.
“The student never threatened anyone,” Henry said. “The student brought the item just to show it off.”
School administration is determining disciplinary actions in accordance to Wayne County Board of Education policies, Derksen said.
“Typically, in most situations where a child gets caught with an (airsoft gun) at school, they’re usually showing off, or if there’s any type of inappropriate item,” Derksen said. “We always appreciate when students do report that type of information to those in authority.”
Airsoft guns are spring- or air-powered guns designed to fire round plastic projectiles, usually at muzzle velocities of approximately 300 feet per second.
Parents of students attending Carver Heights Elementary School, at 411 Bunche Drive, were notified about the incident Monday through a letter that was sent home with students, Derksen said. Parents are encouraged to discuss what items are inappropriate to bring to school and the consequences students may face for bringing such items, he said.
“This afternoon, there will be a letter going home with the students at the elementary school letting parents know, and just, of course, making sure that they understand that this was an inappropriate item and that any time a child brings an item that resembles a weapon onto school property, obviously there will be disciplinary action in accordance to the local board of education policy, but they could potentially face criminal charges,” Derksen said Monday afternoon. “(Parents should) work with them to understand why they shouldn’t bring these types of items to school.
“If it’s something that they’ve purchased for their child, make sure they know what the consequences could be if they get caught bringing it to school or onto a school bus or into the school environment.”
Wayne County Board of Education Policy 4333 Weapons, Bomb Threats, Terrorist Threats and Clear Threats to Safety states, “The board will not tolerate the presence of weapons, destructive devices, bomb or terrorist threats or actions that constitute a clear threat to the safety of students or employees.”
Under Policy 4333 subsection A.1, students are “possessing, handling, using or transmitting, whether concealed or open, any weapon, or any instrument that reasonably looks like a weapon or could be used as a weapon.”
This includes, but is not limited to: loaded and unloaded firearms, including guns, pistols and rifles; destructive devices, as described in subsection B.2 of the policy, including explosives, such as dynamite cartridges, bombs, grenades and mines, knives, including pocket knives, Bowie knives, switchblades, dirks and daggers, slingshots and slungshots, leaded canes, blackjacks, metal knuckles, BB guns, air rifles and air pistols, stun guns and other electric shock weapons, such as tasers, ice picks, razors and razor blades, fireworks, gun powder, ammunition or bullets, or any sharp pointed or edged instruments, except unaltered nail files and clips and tools used solely for preparation of food, instruction and maintenance.
The possession, handling or transmitting of any weapon, facsimile of a weapon, dangerous instruments, substances or other objects that can be used as a weapon is considered a Level III rule violation under policy code 4300 in the Code of Student Conduct. Level III rule violations can result in a “more severe in nature” and “supports” long-term school suspension. The principle “may also recommend a short-term suspension,” which is defined as 10 days or less, based on “mitigating factors”.
“We encourage parents to use it as a learning opportunity to talk to the child about what not to bring to school and make sure they don’t bring inappropriate items to school,” Derksen said. “It’s not uncommon for students to bring items like this to schools and certainly we try to stress to the families the importance of not bringing these types of items.
“There’s been situations, in recent years, where more of these types of incidents have occurred and we take that very seriously. We want to make sure we partner with parents to make sure children understand the seriousness of bringing inappropriate items to school.”