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Kindergartener brings gun to Leila G. Davis Elementary in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A teacher's assistant found an unloaded handgun in a kindergartener's backpack Friday at Leila G. Davis Elementary School.

The incident happened about 9:30 a.m. when the assistant was going through backpacks looking for student planners, according to school district spokeswoman Andrea Zahn.

School police and Clearwater police were notified and the gun was confiscated.

An investigation by the Clearwater police found that the 6-year-old boy, who lives with his grandparents, took the old .22-caliber handgun from a container in the grandparents' bedroom.

Officials said the child apparently brought the gun to show his friends, not to harm anybody.

Police spokeswoman Joelle Castelli said police would notify the Department of Children and Families about the incident but do not plan to file criminal charges.

School district policy holds that any child who possesses or exhibits a gun at school will be suspended and recommended for expulsion, Zahn said.

Friday afternoon the school made phone calls to parents telling them what had happened.

Classes were not suspended and parents picked up their children as usual.

Parent Patricia Hicks said she felt very comfortable with the way the school handled the incident and notified the parents.

"It's under control," she said in the parking lot.

Erik Hall, who has two children at the school, was bothered by the fact someone brought in a gun.

"It's an elementary school," he said. "I'd be worried about it even if the kids were in high school."

If there was anyone to be upset with, he said, it was the adults who allowed the boy access to the weapon.

Across the parking lot, Raine Johns said she hadn't been home to hear the call from the school where she has two children. A gun in school, she said — even an empty one — was a serious concern.

"Most of the gun injuries take place when children think the gun is empty," she said.

Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

Kindergartener brings gun to Leila G. Davis Elementary in Clearwater 10/24/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 27, 2008 1:19pm]
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