Local News

School Officials Say Shooting Could Have Been Worse

Posted March 4, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— The principal at a Wayne County elementary school is seeking the maximum punishment for an 8-year-old who brought a gun to school Monday and accidentally shot himself in the arm. The gun went off in a classroom housing more than 20 children.

Apparently, the third-grader took the gun to class to impress his friends. It fired only once and he was the only person injured, but police and the school want to know who owns the gun and how the child got it.

Meadow Lane Elementary Principal William Turner says it's time to evaluate safety at the elementary level.

The incident caught school leaders off-guard. This sort of thing is rare in elementary schools across North Carolina. Turner has already suspended the student for 10 days and says he will recommend the school board extend the suspension to one year.

Jay Memmelaar of the Goldsboro Police department says the next step is to find out where the gun came from.

If the boy is expelled for the rest of the year, he will have to find somewhere else to attend school. The county's only alternative school is for sixth-grade and up, so the board of education has to decide what happens next.

Teachers and administrators say they will pay especially close attention to children who have heard rumors of weapons on school grounds. They want to prevent a similar incident from occurring again.