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Saturday, May 18, 2024

First-grader unknowingly brought handgun to Meadowbrook Elementary School

There were no criminal arrests

<p>A sign in front of the Alachua County Public Schools district office building is seen Sunday, June 6, 2021.</p>

A sign in front of the Alachua County Public Schools district office building is seen Sunday, June 6, 2021.

Parents were startled Wednesday after Alachua County Public Schools reported a first-grader accidentally brought a loaded gun to his classroom.

No criminal charges were filed as the gun landed in the boy’s backpack from a series of events unknown to both the child and his mother, according to a release from Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

The child’s mother typically keeps the handgun in the car’s glovebox, according to the release.

Recently the car was loaned to a family member who moved the gun because they felt uncomfortable having it inside the vehicle.Instead, the family member moved the gun to an old, tattered backpack in the trunk of the vehicle, without telling the first-grader’s mom, according to the release. The family member didn’t tell the child’s mom as she had seen the kid with newer backpacks at home.

The first-grader’s teacher requested he bring a backpack to school after not doing so for months, according to the release.

His mom told him Wednesday to grab the backpack to meet the teacher’s request. 

ACSO school resource deputies responded at 1 p.m. Wednesday after the boy saw the gun in his backpack and reported it to his teacher, according to an email sent out by the school’s principal, Brad Burklew.

The gun was made safe and stored away from the school, according to the release. While no one faced charges, as law enforcement believes it was all accidental, a notification was made to the Department of Child and Family Services.

The school reported the incident to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and conducted a threat assessment.

While the school took its own safety procedures, the district needs equal vigilance from parents to ensure their kids don’t come to school with any dangerous objects, said ACPS spokesperson Jackie Johnson.

“Weapons of any kind — and that includes toys — have no place on campus,” she said, “It’s very disruptive; it creates a lot of anxiety.”

Both the school and ACSO asked firearm owners to store any weapons in safe locations inaccessible to children.

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Contact Aidan Bush at Follow him on Twitter @aidandisto.

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Aidan Bush

Aidan Bush is a third-year journalism major and the Spring 2024 Engagement Managing Editor of The Alligator. In his free time, he likes to listen to music and go kayaking.

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