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7-year-old expelled after bringing gun to school

A 7-year-old student at Soos Creek Elementary School in Kent was expelled after bring an unloaded gun to school.

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KENT, Wash. — A 7-year-old boy brought an unloaded Rugger 380 semi-automatic handgun to school Tuesday at Soos Creek Elementary School in Kent. The gun fell out of the boy’s bag when he was putting on his coat.

Though the gun was unloaded, the incident brought back to mind plenty of scary incidents involving young students and guns, including last year when 9-year-old Amina Bowman was accidentally shot by a boy in her class.

School officials said the young boy brought the gun to his school because he “thought it was cool.”

“We had a young person bring something he thought was shiny and cool to school,” said Kent School District Spokesman Chris Loftis. “That’s it. It was a little kid who made a big mistake,”

But the mistake cost the 7-year-old boy a one year expulsion, as mandated by state law. Dr. Greg Jantz said that type of punishment could seriously delay this boy’s social development, and his self-esteem; especially considering his young age.

“To expel a boy for 12 months, we need to look a little closer at that,” Jantz said.  “There needs to be a better plan. Normally abstract thinking or knowing right from wrong starts at around 10 years old, which knows that what you do now can impact what happens to you in the future. At seven, they do not understand the mistake they’ve made.”

RugerLCPThe district said the superintendent can review the circumstances, and decide to reduce that penalty.

“We don’t want to respond to that where we’re the ones causing the tragedy because at seven if we handle this incorrectly,” Loftis said. “We can set a trajectory for this child that could impact his entire life.”

Both the child’s mother and her roommate who owns the gun could face criminal charges, Kent police said

“The decision as far as who will be charged comes down to what the evidence shows us,” Assistant Chief Pat Lowery said. “Any person who has knowledge that the weapon was in an open access area for that child could face some sort of culpability.”

The police department plans to hand its investigation over to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for a charging decision sometime next week.

KENT — A 7-year-old boy has been expelled for bringing an unloaded handgun to Soos Creek Elementary School in Kent’s East Hill, school officials said Wednesday.

Kent School District spokesman Chris Loftis said the boy brought the gun to school in his backpack, but it fell to the floor as he was getting his jacket for his walk home.

“He thought it would be fun, thought it would be cool to have this gun he found at home,” said Loftis.

soosTwo students at Soos Creek spotted the small-caliber gun on the classroom floor, picked it up and gave it to their teacher.

“The teacher immediately recognized this was no toy gun. She called in the principal, the room was cleared, (the) gun was secured and 911 was called,” Loftis said.

School administrators say it was a little kid who made a big mistake.

“The kid didn’t bring it because he felt threatened or was bullied,” said Loftis.

Phone calls and letters immediately went out to parents, including Kandiss Jackson, who said her 8-year-old son was in the same classroom where the gun was discovered.

“It’s a first- and second-grade mixed class,” Jackson said. “I’m surprised, it’s scary.”

The boy was immediately expelled for a year — a penalty the state mandates anytime a student brings a gun to school. The superintendent, however, has the power to bring the boy back to school after a thorough review.

Dawn Pickens’ granddaughter goes to Soos Creek. She sympathizes with the 7-year-old boy and hopes the school gives him a second chance.

“It should have been locked up, should have been put somewhere the kid couldn’t get to it,” said Pickens.

Pickens says if anyone needs to be held accountable, it should be the boy’s parents.

“Any person who potentially had knowledge that the weapon was in an open access area for that child could face culpability,” said Assistant Kent Police Chief Pat Lowery.

Kent police said the gun belongs to the mother’s roommate. If they can prove no safeguards were taken with the gun at home, both the roommate and the mother could face possible charges, police said.

“Kids should not have access to guns, period,” said Jackson.

School counselors have been on hand since Tuesday’s incident to help students if needed.