Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Longview student suspected of bringing gun to school taken into custody

By Meredith Shamburger
Sept. 14, 2017 at 12:04 a.m.
Updated Sept. 14, 2017 at 11:41 a.m.

The Foster Middle School student who brought a loaded gun onto campus has been suspended pending expulsion, Longview ISD officials said Wednesday.

UPDATE: A Foster Middle School student who officials said brought a loaded handgun to school was taken into custody Wednesday on a directive to apprehend, Longview police spokesman Sgt. Shane McCarter said Thursday.

The student is facing a charge of places weapons prohibited, a felony, McCarter said.

The student’s identity is not being released because they are a juvenile.

PREVIOUS: A day after a loaded gun was found at their Longview ISD campus, Foster Middle School parents said they were "shocked and frightened" and plan to meet with the principal to discuss security.

Longview ISD officials said Wednesday that the student responsible for bringing the gun onto campus had been suspended pending expulsion. It was unclear if the student has been charged with a crime. Longview police are investigating alongside the district.

"Bringing a gun on campus is punishable by expulsion for a period of one year," Foster Principal John York said in a statement. "Any and all punishment will be pursued to the fullest extent. The student is also subject to criminal prosecution."

The student's identity has not been released because he or she is a juvenile.

Police and Longview ISD officials were notified Tuesday after a Foster staff member found a loaded .380 pistol hidden in a bathroom.

The district said Tuesday that no other students or staff were in the bathroom, and there were no direct threats made.

Parents of Foster students were notified of the incident through an "all call" Tuesday afternoon. An "all call" is mass recorded phone call to all parents or guardians.

Longview ISD spokeswoman Elizabeth Ross said there was a time lapse between when the gun was found and when parents were notified, noting the situation arose without a threat.

"This happened because we were actively investigating the situation," she said. "This took time to monitor video, contact officials and work with community partners to assure that all students and staff were safe. If a threat had happened, we would have gone into lockdown (following district safety protocol), and an 'all call' would have been sent out immediately."

This was the second known gun-related incident at the campus this calendar year. Longview ISD reported in May that a Foster student had been arrested after he took an unloaded gun to school. The student, a juvenile at the time of arrest, was charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon and possession of marijuana measuring less than 2 ounces in a drug-free zone.

York said the school takes several measures to keep students safe throughout the day, with students' safety being officials' No. 1 concern. Two Longview police officers are stationed at the school each day, and the campus has an active Crime Stoppers program that encourages students to report illegal activity on or off campus.

"Students are closely supervised throughout the day from the time they arrive each morning until they depart at the end of the day," York said. "Throughout the day, teachers, administrators and other school personnel are present in the halls for every class change. In addition, security officers sweep the halls, restrooms and outside areas after every class change."

Kate Langston, president of the Foster PTA, said the incident "has shocked and frightened all of us parents."

"While we haven't met with Mr. York since the incident occurred, the PTA board does plan to meet with him at the earliest convenience to discuss how we may be able to assist in providing a safe haven for all students to learn and thrive," she said. "Whatever we can do to help provide students and parents with peace of mind, we certainly will. Now is the time to be proactive in our efforts. There does not need to be another incident of this nature."

Sitting in the school pickup line Wednesday, parent Guadalupe Domingez said she found out about the incident through news reports, and it makes her wonder about her daughter's safety.

I'm "very concerned, not just for my child's safety, but for the other kids and the teachers," she said.

Parent Lori Dunaway said she also is concerned, adding that she didn't learn about the incident until Wednesday when she was asked for her reaction by a reporter.

"I'm a little taken aback," she said.

Dunaway said, generally, her husband receives school notifications, so that could be why she did not hear of the incident Tuesday. She said she is not in favor metal detectors.

"I think that's the obvious reaction, but that's not the kind of environment I want my kid to be in," she said. "I mean, one where there's guns in the bathroom isn't, either, but ..."

Parent Daline Khieo said Wednesday that he did not consider the incident to be a parent problem, and he was not worried. The issue is one for the school to handle, he said.

"I know my kid don't take guns to school," he said. "It's somebody else's kids. I don't worry about other people's kids."



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