Gun found in student’s bag, police say parent takes responsibility

The Marion Police Department is investigating after a handgun was found in a student’s backpack at Benjamin Harrison Elementary Wednesday afternoon.

At the end of this school day, staff at Benjamin Harrison Elementary on Brightwood Drive were advised of the possible presence of a weapon inside a student’s backpack. According to police, staff members took immediate steps to identify the location of the alleged complaint and located a small caliber handgun. Students were sequestered away from the affected area of the school and a Marion Police Department School Resource Officer as well as Marion City School District Administration were quickly notified and subsequently responded. Since this incident took place during the normal dismissal time, students were dismissed from the school building in typical fashion.

Investigators said that the parent of the child that was in possession of the backpack was notified and also responded to the school. The parent allegedly claimed potential responsibility, saying he mistook the child’s backpack for one of his own.

“It should be noted that this investigation is in its infancy and the possibility remains that additional details will be brought to light,” stated Lt. B.J. Gruber, Marion City Police Public Information Officer. “Should that occur, information that is paramount to the safety of staff and students will be relayed to the public in an appropriate manner and format.”

Police said that pending the outcome of the investigation, the student who was in possession of the book bag will not be in attendance at the school.

Following a thorough investigation, police said that any appropriate charges will be forwarded to the appropriate adult and/or juvenile justice system. The Marion City Schools will follow the board policy section that refers to weapons on school grounds as they determine the appropriate internal course of action.

Lt. Gruber stated that MPD and MCS work collaboratively on an on-going basis to ensure a safe learning environment for students and staff. Beginning this past Monday, October 16th and continuing through Wednesday, October 25th, Marion police are conducting active intruder drills in each of the schools which teaches staff and students how to appropriately respond to an armed threat inside the school building.

The safety exercise had been previously scheduled for Benjamin Harrison will still take place on Wednesday, October 25. Following the full-scale safety drill involving both students and staff, the staff will have a scheduled A.L.I.C.E. training that will be jointly conducted by the Marion Police Department and Marion City Schools to train all BHE school staff on the nationally accepted standards and practices of A.L.I.C.E. (acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate).

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