Thursday letters went home to parents of some Fayette County students after a loaded gun turned up outside a school building.
Since early in the morning school officials had been on the lookout for signs of trouble. "We had heard that there had been rumors that a student may bring a gun or have a gun," Superintendent Tom Shelton said.
The concern was that a gun was somewhere at the school district's main office where up to 50 students attend specialized alternative programs. "We have multiple programs around the district in different places that are intervention-type programs for students," Dr. Shelton explained, "They may be students who have certain types of behavior issues or discipline issues."
An initial search turned up nothing. School officials say it was routine maintenance around 1:30 in the afternoon that made the difference. The gun was discovered inside a recycling bin, and it isn't clear whether the student planned to come back for it. "We had to act pretty quickly," Shelton said, "because students here are dismissed shortly after two from the program there that they're in here, and so we had to act very quickly."
Shelton says a tip led them to a student he would only identify as a male juvenile. "He was kind of off-subject and talking about other things, not really forthcoming, but ultimately did verify that it was his backpack."
Police arrested the student for possession of a weapon on campus. School officials stress that the investigation continues, but they do not believe the student intended to use the gun at school. "From all indications the gun was never anywhere here other than in the backpack. It had never been moved. It was placed there. It never came inside the building," Shelton said.
The superintendent says the student will face legal consequences through the juvenile court system and could face expulsion through the school district.