Well, it was a first for Hawaii schools, but sadly not a first for other U.S. schools; a gun was fired by a student on school property. Here are the details of the case.
On Monday, an eighth grade boy who attends Highlands Intermediate School in Honolulu, claims he found a Glock pistol in a secluded area of the school’s campus, which he decided to show to his friends about an hour before school started. Apparently, one of his friends got a little nervous when the boy began waving it around and tried to push it away. Unfortunately, in doing so, the gun accidently went off, and the bullet ricocheted off a lava rock wall. When it hit the wall, it fragmented injuring a boy who happened to be nearby, causing minor hand injuries.
“It was a bad choice on his part, and he’s lucky he didn’t end up killing his friend,” the boy’s father, Jason Takayesu, told The Associated Press. “I’m sorry for what happened. I’m just thankful it wasn’t worse.”
Police followed up on the gun and discovered that it was registered to someone outside of the Takayesu family. When they confronted this person on Monday with the gun, he said it had been stolen from him several months ago.
Initially, Takayesu’s 14-year old son was arrested under suspicion of attempted murder; however, once the facts were revealed, he was released to his parents. He will be suspended from public school next year, and during that time, he will attend an alternative school, according to his father.
Police say they have a good idea how the Glock pistol was found on campus, but the case is still under investigation.
Sheldon Oshio, the complex area superintendent who oversees Highlands Intermediate School, said that administrators at the school responded quickly to the incident. The school wasn’t locked down, and classes were able to continue as normal.
“The school assessed the situation and took swift action on containing the situation, and the appropriate authorities were contacted,” Oshio said. And the children all took home letters from a vice principal which explained what had occurred at the school.
The only complaint seemed to be from parents who felt that they should have been notified by phone or by text message in a prompter fashion. Spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Education, Sandy Goya, said that they plan to have all public schools using mass messaging in emergency situations starting next fall.
“Plans are in place in our complex area to improve our mass messaging and communications,” said Oshio. “We always want to be cognizant on how and when we want to communicate so it doesn’t impede any investigation.”
And on the school’s website, an announcement regarding the incident reminds them: “I am asking parents and guardians to remind their child/children that firearms are dangerous instruments and do not belong in school, on the school bus, at school-related activities, or in their backpacks. Under Chapter 19, possession of a firearm leads to serious punishment for offenders and is classified as a Class A offense. Bringing firearms, including air guns and any instrument that may be readily converted to expel a projectile, to school is also a violation of the Hawaii Gun-Free Schools Act. Any student who violates the Hawaii Gun-Free Schools Act shall be removed from attending school for no less than one calendar year…”
A very tough lesson for a 14-year old to learn, but thankfully he will learn it in a situation which could have been so much worse. It is a defining moment for him as well as for the other students who witnessed what took place.
In the meantime, how the heck does a loaded gun end up on school property? I plan to keep my eyes and ears open for this one, and I’ll fill you in as soon as I hear an update.