Schools do a lot of stupid things when it comes to guns. I’ve seen students suspended for a whole lot of idiotic things under the guise of “zero tolerance,” including the well-known example of the Pop-Tart gun.
I’ve actually seen worse.
The most egregious example was a student who was suspended because he disarmed another student. For a moment, he had possession of a gun, so the school punished him. While this travesty was eventually corrected, it still happened, and that’s the problem.
Yet it seems that not every school faculty member is willing to go that far. Some will swing way in the other direction.
A Jefferson County Public Schools assistant principal was suspended after not calling police after he found a gun in a student’s backpack in August, according to documents obtained by WDRB News.
An internal Jefferson County Public Schools document says on Aug. 11, the student’s backpack was checked because he smelled like marijuana. The student admitted he stole the 9mm Ruger from his father.
The report says Assistant Principal Matt Kingsley called the student’s father, who came to the school. The final line in the report says, “Student left with father and father was given back his gun by Kingsley.”
Louisville Metro Police were never called to the school.
As a result, he was suspended for five days.
Kingsley apparently didn’t tell anyone about the gun until the father came to pick it and the child up.
Frankly, I’m going to say that he should have.
Look, I’m not saying this needed to be a federal case, but the kid brought a firearm to school. While it might have been just to show off or to brag, he also might have had something more nefarious in mind. It might have been a school shooting, or he might have intended to follow in the bloody footprints of Jeremy Delle and take his own life in class.
Either way, it sounds as much like a cry for help as anything. Simply sending the boy home with his father may not get him the help he actually needs.
Granted, Kinsley may have wanted to spare the kid a felony charge (which is what the LMPD says could result), but that’s not really his call. That should have been handled higher up the food chain.
Instead, he took unilateral action that exceeded his authority.
And yes, it may well have been a cry for help that wasn’t heard as it needed to be.
With any luck, now the kid can get any help he needs so he can grow up to be a productive member of society. I don’t see any reason he should be charged at this point–especially if his dad isn’t going to press charges for the theft of his firearm–but I do think Kingsley’s suspension is probably the right call.
After all, what if the kid had returned later and opened fire, killing someone or a lot of someones? That would have been on him.