Archive for Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Board reviews weapons policy after BJHS BB gun accident

March 15, 2000

The Baldwin school board reviewed the district's weapons policy and met in executive session for an hour Monday night in response to a Baldwin Junior High School student being shot by a BB gun last Monday.

During rehearsal for a play about the Hatfield and McCoy feud, a female student was shot in the mouth last Monday morning by a BB gun that was thought to be broken. The BB struck the student on a front tooth. She was not seriously injured.

Parents were notified of the incident Friday in a letter sent home with students.

On Monday night, board members debated whether a special section should be added to the district's weapons policy banning BB guns and pellet guns in school. Board members Linda Rogers and Chris Ogle said current policy applies to all weapons, and such an addition would be too specific.

"Anything can be considered a weapon, if it is used as such," Rogers said.

"They couldn't bring a water gun if it fooled somebody and they intended to do harm with it," Ogle said.

The policy was left unchanged, and Supt. James White will consult the opinion of Kansas Association of School Board attorneys prior to the next meeting.

The board also met in executive session for an hour with Jodie Eldridge, BJHS vocal music teacher and play director. No action was taken following the closed session.

"I've asked for additional information," White said. "There is the likelihood that there will be further discussion at the April meeting."

In the letter to parents, White wrote: "The directors asked the students if any of them had toy guns at home that could be used for the play. One student told the director that he had an old BB gun at home that did not work."

The gun was at the school several weeks before a BB "was somehow discharged."

"This is a terrible accident that should not have occurred," White wrote in the letter sent home to parents. "Everyone involved agrees that with the recent history of "firearm" situations in schools that poor judgment was used."

White said that neither the district office or the junior high as received any complaints or inquiries from parents about the incident. The play is still scheduled.

"The theme is guns aren't ways to settle things," White said of the subject matter of the play. "Working is the best way to settle disputes, and I think that is an appropriate theme."

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