Parents, school officials working on safety rules

Jul. 01, 2013 @ 10:37 AM

Parents and school officials are working on school safety rules changes so everyone will know what to do and what to expect when a student brings a starter pistol or replica firearm to school.
Four concerned parents have met with Superintendent Fred Mock to work out clear rules and procedures to deal with an incident like a recent one at Friendship Elementary School.
School administrators received a report May 28 that a student brought a weapon to school and showed it to other students. A starter pistol was recovered in the student’s backpack. The pistol barrel was plugged and a pin was pressed into it to prevent it from being removed. The barrel was so small that no ammunition could fit.
Several of the children who saw the device told their parents, who called the school. School officials earlier said because of privacy laws, they can’t disclose how the student was disciplined, but action was taken.
“This pistol was not classified as a weapon,” said parent Keith Hedgecock. “We think state law defines it as a  weapon, and we want that in the school policy. We want to take the steps needed to get it recognized. This was a dangerous situation, and it was mishandled from the start. It won’t be handled that way again. Our concern is the safety of the children.”
Mock said the Davidson County Board of Education may see suggestions for revised guidelines as soon as August.
“We may have to do some research with the attorney general’s office and the School of Government before we take something to the board,” Mock said.
Several parents became concerned because they had not been notified of the incident, Hedgecock said.  A group of parents earlier met with officials at the school. 
“We are happy about the steps taken to this point,” Hedgecock said. “The superintendent has been receptive to us. We have no complaint on the steps being taken now.”
Mock said the school system will handle such situations differently. School officials will work to clarify what is and what is not a firearm and the best ways to notify parents when a weapon or look-alike is found at a school.
“In the future, we may send a letter home if something that looks like a weapon is brought to school,” Mock said. “It am thankful for those who met with us. We take safety seriously. It is important to make changes to correct for what comes into the school.  We’re on the right track with this.”

Firearms

School officials, a school resource officer and others with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office examined the starter pistol a student brought to Friendship Elementary School in May. The device is not a firearm, defined as a weapon capable of firing a projectile with an explosive charge.