Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) – The Lexington County Sheriff's Department and the administration of Lexington School District Four have both confirmed that an .380 caliber pistol was recovered from a student's back pack at Frances Mack Intermediate School more than a week ago. The school is located in Gaston. This information is just being brought to light after a parent said she became enraged that the district’s staff didn't notify the parents or guardians of the entire student body. She has now begun notifying the media.
According to the sheriff's department’s report, a deputy responded to the school on the afternoon of Friday, September 29 after dispatch was called by a school administrator. When the deputy arrived in the administrator’s office, the administrator had a pink and chrome pistol lying on her desk. There was also a student's backpack next to the desk. A male student was sitting in a chair in the room as well. The deputy noted in his report that the magazine was not in the pistol as it lie on the administrator's desk, and its slide had been locked open to ensure it was unloaded.
The report further says that while the deputy and the administrator were talking, the boy made an unsolicited statement that he had brought the gun to school. He said that it belonged to his mother, and told the deputy that it had inadvertently fallen from a shelf into his open book bag that morning. At that point, the student said he did not know what to do with the pistol once he had it at school.
School administrators said they found the pistol in the bag of another student. That student denied any knowledge that it was in his bag, and the boy who had confessed said that he had brought the gun to school and he had slipped it into the other student’s bag when he wasn’t looking. That other student was allowed to leave school and ride the bus home.
Administrators said that a number of other students had reported that the boy who admitted that he brought the gun had been bragging about having it. He had been showing it to other students in the school earlier in the day, according to the report.
At that point, the student’s mother was notified, she came to the school, accurately described the gun without seeing it, and said that the pistol belonged to her. She said it normally stayed in a vehicle, but the car was at a mechanics shop being repaired. She admitted that the gun was not secured by locking device or locking container at her home, but did say it was unloaded where she had left it. At this point, the boy was released into his mother’s custody and she took him home.
On Thursday, October 5th, District Four issued an official statement that said, “The safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and the situation on Friday was handled immediately by the administration and law enforcement in accordance with the District's established safety procedures. Matters involving weapons are handled pursuant to Lexington Four disciplinary policy and state law. In that regard, the District is not able to comment on any action taken with respect to any individual students.
The District takes seriously any potential threat to the safety and wellbeing of our students and employees. To that end, we encourage our students to be active citizens who value the school community. We have avenues in place for students to report any concerns or issues, and we encourage parents to speak with their children about safety and the importance of sharing information with a teacher or administrator if they become aware of any potential threats in their schools. We will continue to monitor our schools and school sponsored events to maintain a safe environment for our students, employees, and their families.”
A school district board meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 9. The parent who called The Ledger said that she felt it was important that parents come to that meeting to make district officials aware of the parent’s disbelief that all students' parents weren’t at least notified of the incident.
That meeting begins at 6:30pm at Lexington District 4's Early Childhood Center in the gym. The address is 135 Lewis Rast Road, Swansea.