BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - Two students from Bay-Waveland Middle School are now charged with felonies after deputies found they had guns on school property this week.
The firearms were discovered Thursday after a fire alarm was inadvertently triggered at the middle school, and deputies from the School Resource Division of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office responded. Once on campus, the deputies were told a student had a gun in their possession, and the campus was immediately locked down.
Investigators identified the student and found a handgun in his/her backpack, but then learned there was another gun on campus. According to the sheriff’s department, a second student received a handgun from the detained student. That weapon was eventually found tossed away in a trash can.
That handoff means the first student will be charged with an additional felony crime for providing a weapon to another individual on school property.
The Bay-Waveland School District has a zero tolerance policy for weapons on school property. Both students were charged and taken to Hancock County Youth Court.
While Sheriff Ricky Adam said he was very happy with the quick action from his deputies, he’s concerned that there were students on campus who knew about these weapons and didn’t speak up.
“During this investigation, we learned that other students may have been aware that these weapons were on campus as early as their bus ride to school that morning, but these students did not report this to school officials. I think it is important that parents have these conversations with their children to know that when they are aware of these potentially dangerous situations, it’s okay for them to speak up immediately so that law enforcement can help resolve them in a safe way,” Sheriff Adam said.
“This incident emphasizes the importance of constant reminders to all students that it’s critically important to let school officials know when a safety issue exists - particularly one that involves a firearm,” Bay-Waveland Superintendent Dr. Sandra Reed said. “While the incident was unfortunate, we are very thankful that no students or staff members were harmed.”
School Board President Casey Favre said, “This very serious situation was handled well by the school and district administration working well with their law enforcement partners. These relationships are vitally important to ensuring the safety of our school campuses and we are fortunate that this was resolved with the best possible outcome. As always, we will continue to look at any situation on our campuses to ensure we are working to promote a safe and orderly learning environment for our students.”
Because those involved are juveniles, their names will not be released.