Dealing with weapons in schools

Augusta, GA (WJBF)—On Monday, we asked the Richmond County Board of Education what they are doing to protect your children in schools.

At the end of October, a student brought a gun to Windsor Spring Elementary. We followed up with school leaders and on Monday NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Osborne talked to BOE Police Chief Reginald Wade.

We asked Chief Wade how his department deals with situations like the one at Windsor Spring.

“Once we get involved, what generally happens is we conduct an investigation. You go back to the root cause and determine—how did the young person get ahold of the gun in the first place,” says Chief Wade.

Chief Wade points out that typically, parents are to blame when it comes to a child getting their hands on a gun. He stresses the importance of talking to your kids about the dangers of guns, even if you do not have them in your home.

“There’s no exact age when you want to have that tough discussion, but you have to at some point. You have to explain to them the seriousness of the consequences of dealing with a gun. If they watch a lot of TV, and you see actors get shot and then you see them the next week on the television show. It’s not real to them that—hey, if it was a real gun, there’s no coming back from that,” Chief Wade describes.

Chief Wade says it is crucial to instruct your kids—if you see a gun, do not touch it! Tell an adult. The Board of Education says that is what happened at Windsor Spring. Students told their teacher after seeing the gun.

The day the student brought the gun to Windsor Spring, the principal sent a letter home to parents. I talked one who said, “A lot of the parents were upset that we found out after the kids got home.” She says “I think we should have been notified sooner.”

Spokesperson Kaden Jacobs explains the school’s decision.

“We send a letter home to inform parents. If something had happened, if there had been an emergency, obviously we would have sent a message home immediately after the situation. This wasn’t an incident that disrupted the school day or needed to cause any further disruption.”

In an effort to prevent these kinds of situations, Chief wade says they have a program called Gang Resistance Education and Training, which teaches young people the skills to make good decisions.

Chief Wade says parents are welcome to talk to School Resource Officers for guidance.

“In most cases, the officers that respond out there take on that counseling role and make sure the information is put out, and I know the parents get letters re-emphasizing safety and checking kids before they leave home and that type of thing. Also, on our website we have gun safety tips that parents can use to their benefit,” says Chief Wade.

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