BURKE COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - A gun was found on the campus of Burke County Middle School Wednesday afternoon.
“Guns have got to be. They’ve got to be where children can’t get a hold of them," said retired educator Carol Montgomery.
At around 12:45 p.m., faculty at the school were notified that a student on campus may have a gun in their possession. The on-campus deputy was notified and contacted other deputies to assist. The Burke County Sheriff’s Office and the school’s principal identified the student and took him into custody without alarming other students.
The student in question was found to be in possession of a loaded, operational, .22 caliber handgun, which was confiscated and disarmed. The Burke County Criminal Investigation Division has taken over the case. The initial investigation determined that the student and another individual were “having issues" with each other.
“This student’s been having an ongoing problem with another student. Some stuff off campus and things of that nature," said Burke County Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard.
Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard said the student who brought the gun to school has been in trouble before. He had been sent to Camp Impact, a program that helps kids going down the wrong path.
“This young man had actually been through our program and failed out. That’s why under no uncertain circumstances, he will be going to YDC and the judges will take all that into consideration when they make decisions as to how to proceed,” Chief Deputy Blanchard said.
Blanchard said the school system takes many precautions - like resource officers and metal detectors- to keep students safe.
“Metal detectors certainly are not foolproof. They are one small step in securing school safety,” he added.
But When it comes to safety, Blanchard said, it really comes down to parents. Knowing where your guns are, locking those weapons up.
Montgomery said, “Parents really have to get on top of their kids.”
Both Montgomery and Blanchard said it’s important for parents and school employees to teach kids conflict-resolution so guns won’t be a factor in settling differences.
“In the schools, there should be a counselor, if the counselor is doing their job. who can help to help these children resolve their conflicts with each other," she said.
Burke County’s Crime Suppression Team and Traffic division remained on campus throughout the school day. There will be a deputy presence on campus Thursday, too.
As for the 15-year-old, he will appear before a judge within the next 48 to 72 hours.