Eighth Grader Arrested for Bringing Gun to School

An eighth grade boy is in the Chatham County Youth Detention Center tonight after campus police say he brought a gun to school. It happened Monday at Coastal Middle School on Whitemarsh Island, but officials didn't hear about it until Tuesday.

Campus police say it wasn't until yesterday that the student's classmates finally approached their school resource officer. But what's also concerning school officials is where the gun came from: home.

Most students never knew. Their parents were shocked. "I'm surprised to hear of it," said parent Elsie Millican.

"It makes me feel very unsafe and it makes me worry for the kids," said parent Susan Amer.

It is supposed to be a safe place where students can learn, but school officials were the ones who learned this week that wasn't the case. On Tuesday, the eighth grader was arrested after campus police say they found out he brought a 22-caliber semiautomatic weapon to school.

You may think something like this could never happen in your family, but here's some alarming news: if you own a weapon, school officials say it could. Campus police chief Ulysses Bryant told us, "When we have these incidents where children are found in possession of weapons, firearms especially, the disturbing factor is that the gun either comes from the home, the home of a friend, or the home of a relative."

Bryant says telling your child a gun is not a toy may not be enough. "If they've got these firearms in the home, then they've got to make sure they're safe and secure where they cannot be easily obtained by young people," he advised. "Kids and weapons just don't mix."

The student is facing felony charges for bringing a gun on school grounds. He could also be expelled. He's now waiting for his detention hearing.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com