EBR School System reviewing protocol after WBRZ questions how administrators reported gun on campus
BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Parish School System says it's taking a hard look at its procedures after a gun was found on a school campus wasn't reported to authorities until hours later.
Superintendent Warren Drake says an unloaded firearm was found in the backpack of a 6-year-old student at the end of the school day at Wedgewood Elementary Friday. Drake says while the weapon was discovered by administrators at 3:30 p.m., the school's resource officer wasn't notified until around 6:13 p.m., nearly three hours later.
By the time the sheriff's office was actually notified of the incident, the student had already been sent home with his parent along with the gun in question.
Monday, sheriff's deputies were finally able to get in contact with the child's mother and confiscate the firearm. Deputies said the mother claimed the weapon was kept locked and separate from ammunition, but her 19-year-old son guards their home with it when she's gone.
The child's grandmother says she believes the boy found the gun on his own and placed it in his backpack.
Parents of other students at the school say they heard nothing of the incident until the following week.
"Whether it was a fake gun, a toy gun, an unloaded gun, whatever the case was... That's something all the parents really should have known about," said Adrina Payne, a concerned parent.
In a statement released late Monday, the school district said it quickly determined there was never an immediate safety issue and that "the student is being disciplined in accordance with the student rights and responsibility handbook."
A day later, Warren Drake says things maybe should have been handled differently after the weapon was found.
"We want to make sure all of our schools are being contacted, that they know the protocols," Drake said. "We just need to do a better job making sure they're enforced right away."
The superintendent says parents were notified the next business day, which came the following Monday.
"We have to communicate with our parents as soon as we can," Drake said. "We do need to do a better job. A weekend should not matter."
The sheriff's office is investigating the matter and says charges will likely be filed.