November 22, 2014

Elyria
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First-grader suspended for taking air gun to school

AVON — A first-grader has been suspended from school for 10 days and recommended for expulsion after he brought an air gun to Avon East Elementary School last week and police said he planned to use it to shoot another student.

The 6-year-old boy was suspended Friday for 10 days by Avon East Principal Sherry Szczepanski. Explusion will be considered at a later date. Police investigated, but no charges were filed.

Police were called to the Nagel Road school about 2:45 p.m. Friday after Szczepanski found a BB gun in the boy’s backpack. He told her he brought it to school to shoot another student who had threatened him with a knife, police said.

However, when the boy’s father arrived at the school, the boy told his father a different version of events. He said that another student argued with his 8-year-old cousin at the bus stop and he pulled out the air gun, which contained one pellet, to scare him. His sister, he told his father, told him not to bring the air gun to school, but he didn’t have time to return it to their home before the bus arrived, according to the police report.

The boy’s father, police said, was very upset with his son and understood the ramifications of his actions.

In followup interviews, police learned that the boy with whom the cousin argued had threatened to get a gun and shoot the 6-year-old and his cousin. He saw the air gun at the bus stop and told a teacher about it later that day, police said.

Police said the air gun is designed to resemble a .45-caliber compact handgun, but it did not look like an actual firearm.
Superintendent Mike Laub confirmed that the incident happened but declined to elaborate.

“Our stance has always been and will be that we are not at liberty to verify anything that has to do with student discipline,” Laub said. “We have a process we follow in such incidents, and we are doing that.”

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.