OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Officials with the Ocean Springs Police Department tell WLOX a loaded gun was found inside a child's backpack in class Tuesday morning. It happened at Oak Park Elementary in Ocean Springs.
The woman, who is the guardian of the 5-year-old little girl involved, told officials she stuck the loaded handgun in the child's backpack over the weekend.
Capt. William Jackson said the woman and child were running errands Saturday in Gulfport and the woman needed to close up at her job. She told officials to avoid taking two bags inside because the child needed her backpack, she stuck the gun in the backpack and the two went inside.
Capt. Jackson said Monday, the woman forgot the backpack in the car with the gun still inside, sending the child to school without it.
"Tuesday, today, she went to put the child on the bus. A thought came to her that the backpack was in the car," said Capt. Jackson. "She got the backpack out of the car, took it to school, and the teacher went in the backpack to look for some juice boxes for the little girl. Once she saw, she contacted administration for the school."
Superintendent Dr. Bonita Coleman said the weapon was found during a regular safety check. Police report the gun had a safety lock on it.
Parents learned of the incident through a phone message from the school district telling them students are safe, and the situation is under control.
"We hope this will be a lesson to all of us how important it is for adults to secure their firearms. It's a part of responsible gun ownership. This should never have happened," Dr. Coleman said.
The Ocean Springs Police Department has submitted paperwork for the incident to Child Protective Services and Youth Court will be notified. The case will be sent to a grand jury to determine if charges will be filed against the woman.
The woman was not arrested Tuesday, but Capt. Jackson said his department has possession of the gun, and there are no other guns in the house.
It's up to the school whether or not the child will be allowed back in class.