HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Authorities have confirmed that a student at Hancock Middle School did bring a gun to school last month after numerous rumors spread throughout the community recently.
Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said an eighth-grader brought an inoperable 22-caliber pistol to school on Jan. 4. The sheriff said it was not stated in his report whether the student had any ammunition with the gun. However, the sheriff did emphasize that no students were in danger at any time from the weapon since it did not have a trigger mechanism on it.
"It could have just as well as have been a hammer that the kid had," said Sheriff Adam when asked if there was any way at all the weapon could have caused injury to any student.
Multiple parents reached out to WLOX with their concerns after hearing about this incident last month, saying that the school district did not notify them after the weapon was found.
School district officials confirmed that there was an incident but would not specify what kind of situation occurred or how it was handled. Superintendent Alan Dedeaux said the school dealt with it through the policies they have in place but did not state what specific procedures were taken. The superintendent said anytime students are in danger, the school will contact parents but in this case, no students were in harms' way.
"We're doing everything we can to secure the safety of our children," said Dedeaux. "If any child is in jeopardy, we're going to call those parents."
WLOX also reached out to school board president Dr. Jennifer Seal, who said the school district takes every precaution to keep its students safe.
"We don't announce every disciplinary issue," said Dr. Seal. "It was handled on an individual basis."
"It was a student matter and due to privacy laws, I can't tell you about it. We protect the student's identity," said Dedeaux.
According to the superintendent, if students report problems, the school keeps that information confidential because they want students to always feel like they can report things to them. Dedeaux said the district relies on students, parents and community members to report any suspicious activity or behavior to school leaders.
Sheriff Adam said the student was taken to the county's youth court, who are handling the criminal aspect.