(WASHINGTON) - "No one was ever threatened or in danger" when a 9-year-old fourth grade boy took a BB gun in his backpack to Lena Dunn Elementary last Thursday morning, according to Washington Schools Superintendent Bruce Hatton.
Hatton says told the boy has been given a five-day out-of-school suspension for his violation of school policy. Bullying may have been the reason the child brought the BB gun to school.
As the boy was walking from the bus to the building he told a couple friends, "I have a gun in my backpack, do you want to see it?"
When they arrived inside the building, one of the friends approached a teacher alerting her of the situation, and she informed Principal Brenda Butcher who was standing nearby. Butcher followed the child down the hallway and asked for his backpack and took him to the office. There, she pulled the plastic-handled BB pistol air-gun out of the backpack, and called the boys' parents.
Hatton says a social worker is providing counseling for the boy and his parents, along with the other two boys, who were commended for notifying school personnel.
Hatton said Thursday was the last day of school heading into fall break, and after school officials spent the morning talking to parents, the decision was made not to send out a "global connect" message to other Lena Dunn parents alerting them of the situation. Hatton said they felt a "global connect" message on Thursday would alarm parents unnecessarily as the situation had been handled. Following criticism of that decision, Hatton said a "global connect" message was sent to all Lena Dunn parents on Monday.
Washington Police were also not notified on Thursday.
"If it's a firearm, we are required to report it and file for an expulsion for an entire year. If it's a firearm and we believe there is a threat, that's an entirely different situation," Hatton said.
Social networking sites have say the boy was the victim of bullying at school, although the child has never told school officials of any bullying incidents.
"We will continue to investigate whether or not there was any bullying," Hatton said.
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