Gulfport parents demand answers after student brings BB gun to school

Published: Apr. 1, 2016 at 9:30 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2017 at 4:21 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Parents of Bayou View Elementary students say it was their worst nightmare come true - a BB gun was found in a child's backpack in a second grade classroom.

Although a potentially serious situation, that's not what that bothers them.

"My problem with the whole thing is that I wasn't told," said Kasey Gannon.

The parents say they didn't officially hear from the school district until Friday afternoon, and that they learned about the situation from social media and their children.

"My eight year old had this happen around him, in his classroom and with his friends," said Gannon. "I, as a parent, did not have an opportunity to speak with him or to teach him that this is not what we do, this is not okay and this is not how things are to be handled."

Concerned grandmother Bunny Isgett-Lynn added, "To have to learn about this on Facebook, or hear it from a small child, is a little bit alarming."

Parent Teacher Association vice president Rebecca Clark agreed.

"The school should have protocol for how a crisis was dealt with. Posting it on social media, or a news outlet online, is in my mind a very immature, uneducated decision."

Gulfport Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mike Tatum says that if the gun had been real, there would have been a lock down and parents would have been notified. However, the administration saw no need to administer protocol for the incident.

But, Tatum notes that "[they] will do a better job of communication" in the future.

The school system continues to investigate the incident, including hearsay that the student threatened his teacher. The second-grader, who has not been identified due to child protection laws, has been suspended.

Ultimately, Clark and the other parents simply want closure.

"We're not asking for anybody to be on administrative leave, anybody to quit, anybody to get fired. We're not asking for any of that. All we're asking for is our right to know the specific details of what has happened," added Clark.

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