Photo by Emily Mentzer
School officials found an Airsoft gun in a locker at LaCreole Middle School on Dec. 12.
As of Wednesday, December 20, 2017
DALLAS — A juvenile was referred for disorderly conduct after bringing a fake gun to LaCreole Middle School on Dec. 12.
Students reported to school officials that there was a possible gun in a locker at the school at about 10 a.m. on Dec. 12.
“Our school heard about a potential weapon in the school,” Superintendent Michelle Johnstone said. “Within six minutes, we had secured the toy and secured the student. Our first job was to secure the weapon and secure the kids.”
Some parents of LaCreole students are upset with how the district handled the report of a possible weapon on school grounds, and have gone to Dallas Police Department to discuss it at least twice, according to police logs. School administrators called Dallas Police at 11:36 a.m.
Lt. Jerry Mott said the goal of every responder, from school administration and staff to police officers, is to keep children safe.
“When staff have an immediate opportunity to secure the weapon to make students safe, that is the right action,” he said. “The school did exactly what they should have. It would have taken us longer to get a 911 call than the school staff securing the fake gun and securing the student. They handled it the quickest way possible, efficiently as possible.”
Some parents are concerned also with the aftermath of the event, saying their children are being harassed by other students for “telling” on the student who brought the toy gun.
Johnstone said she would hope that parents would call the school or district office and keep them in the loop about those concerns.
Mott said as the investigation continues, there is going to be a difference in accounts in the case.
“The firsthand accounts of this are going to look different,” Mott said. “The perceptions based on some of the non-firsthand accounts and the non-witness accounts are probably creating circumstances that are creating more anxiety.”
Johnstone said counselors from Polk County Mental Health are on site to support anyone who has anxiety, concerns or fears.
Some toy guns are created to look identical to real ones. That was not the case here, Mott said, as this gun was made with clear plastic and a clearly identifiable orange tip.
Regardless, district policy prohibits weapons in schools, including replicas of weapons, unless granted prior building principal approval for certain circumstances or school-related activities.
Mott said this toy gun could not be considered a replica.
This case remains under investigation.
“I appreciate Dallas Police Department because we have a great partnership,” Johnstone said.
Mott said the Dallas PD and Dallas School District have conducted training and safety drills together for at least a decade.
“We do have a long history with our schools, and a long partnership with our schools,” he said.