Gulfport mom frustrated by school's handling of gun threat

Gulfport mom frustrated by school's handling of gun threat
School board members had no comment regarding Ellis' complaints. (Photo source: WLOX News)
School board members had no comment regarding Ellis' complaints. (Photo source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport Central Middle School mom made another appearance at the Gulfport School District School board meeting Monday night.

This time, she got a chance to address the board about her growing concern over the district's handling of an incident on Jan. 31, when a student who threatened gun violence.

She said the school didn't notify all parents of the threat.

"If a student walks in with a gun, if he's coming to kill one student or many students, it doesn't matter. We need to know what's going on," said Angela Ellis, who is a parent of a Gulfport Central Middle School student.

Ellis said she and all parents at Gulfport Central Middle School should have been notified on the same day.

"What I was told by one of the students that was in the class...that he was going to shoot all the N-words at the school the next day," said Ellis.

Fueled by the fear of her child's safety and recent school shootings, Ellis condemned the district's handling of the threat.

"Robo calls are sent out for everything else. It would have been a simple call, 'We handled the situation.' That was not done and this still has not been done," said Ellis.

"With the day and age that we're having now. We need to take anything, anything very, very seriously when it comes the life of our children," said De Alva Cooper, a parent of a Gulfport Central Middle School student.

Ellis said the school confirmed there was a threat made, it was investigated and deemed an isolated incident. Ellis claims school officials said the student would be suspended, but would return.

In the end she said it took the power of prominent people to keep the student out.

"I contacted a council woman. I also spoke to Chief Papania. Once I did all of that now it's changed. He's not coming back," Ellis explained.

She and other parents are now asking the school district to notify parents of future threats made on students, and to start locking all doors on campus.

"Notify all the parents. Because we have the right to know. I don't want to find out on the news that my kid is in some type of situation or getting a text message like these parents in Florida," said Cooper.

Gulfport School district officials said they followed their policy and the student was disciplined. In a statement, they noted that safety is their number one priority and all threats are taken seriously.

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