Student with gun faces tough discipline

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A student at Demopolis Middle School who brought a toy gun to school on Friday faces disciplinary action from multiple angles.

School personnel discovered the student, whose name has not been released due to his age, in possession of what was later determined to be a BB gun shortly before school dismissed Friday. As a safety precaution, the school was placed on lockdown until police secured the weapon.

“The student brought the BB gun to school, and basically, we went into a ‘Code Blue,’” said DMS principal Clarence Jackson Jr. “People call it a lockdown, but ‘Code Blue’ is a code that we use, and it means that you lock all doors and no one is walking around. If we had an intruder, this helps us make sure that the kids are safe.

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Now that the incident is over, the youth faces potential criminal charges as well as disciplinary action from the school board.

“It’s a Class III offense,” said Alex Braswell, attorney for the Demopolis City School System. “(The student) is looking at anything from in-school suspension or alternative school to suspension or expulsion.”

“For every infraction, there is a code of conduct,” Jackson said. “The student will have a hearing before the board; he will have due process.”

Criminally, the child could be charged with bringing a firearm on school grounds.

“In cases like this, it doesn’t really matter that it wasn’t a pistol,” Braswell added.

However, regarding the severity of the punishment the board may hand down, Braswell said there was no way to know until all parties involved have had time to meet.

“Historically, the board has been very conscientious in dealing with matters similar to this,” he said, “and they typically do not give much leeway with an offense of this magnitude. Of all the rules and violations, this one – Class III – is a big one.”

The student’s hearing has been scheduled for Monday.