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School notifies parents of gun on campus day after it occurred

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
Jan. 21, 2011 at 11 p.m.
Updated Jan. 20, 2011 at 7:21 p.m.


Parents got word that a student brought a gun to the East High School campus more than 24 hours after the weapon was found.

A 15-year-old freshman brought a revolver to lunch Thursday to try to sell it, said Diane Boyett, district communications specialist.

Another student reported the student to an assistant principal, and the student was taken to an isolated room. Within five minutes, the school resource officer removed the gun from the student's backpack and the boy was arrested, said Officer Bryan Dowden with the Victoria Police Department. The gun was not loaded and the boy had no bullets.

The boy was arrested on suspicion of having a weapon in places weapons are prohibited, a third degree felony, Dowden said. He was taken to the Victoria Juvenile Justice Center. Dowden would not release the student's name because he is a minor.

The school sent an automated voice message Friday afternoon to notify parents.

Julie Walker, an East High parent who got the message at 5:07 p.m., was upset with the school's response.

"It's not sufficient," she said. "Not a whole day and a half after the fact only because it's about to air on the news."

She believes the school should have notified parents within the hour.

East Principal Greg Crockett said the timing of the message was right.

"We got it out in a timely manner," he said. "We wanted to make sure the information that went out was accurate and without error."

There was no decision consciously made Thursday to withhold the information from parents, Boyett said.

By federal law the student must be expelled, according to the district's student code of conduct. The student will have a disciplinary hearing to determine if he did have a gun and to discuss other responses the district must take, Boyett said.

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