SOUTH HAVEN — A 13-year-old boy who was found with a loaded handgun Wednesday at Baseline Middle School, may not have had intentions of using it to harm others, according to officials from South Haven Public Schools.
“During the initial investigation we did not identify ill-intent,” District Superintendent Kevin Schooley said in a letter to parents on the school district’s website. “However, the event is still very serious.”
Schooley went on to say the student has been placed on a “long-term suspension” pending an expulsion hearing in front of the South Haven Board of Education. The school district and police are not naming the student.
The incident unfolded Wednesday morning when a student approached an assistant principal and said another student had come to school with a gun.
“The principal (LaTonya Gill) and assistant principal promptly responded by isolating the student and securing the weapon,” Schooley said.
Administrators then called South Haven Police, who are now in charge of the investigation.
According to South Haven Police Chief Natalie Thompson, the boy was carrying a .25 caliber handgun that he told police he had picked up off the street. He brought it to school and was showing it to other students.
“No threats were made. He was just showing the gun,” Thompson said, adding the youth had never been in trouble with police and apologized for bringing the gun to school.
The youth, however, will still be referred to juvenile court. “Juvenile court will handle it because of his age,” Thompson said.
Both Thompson and Schooley said they were glad that a student came forward to let an administrator know about the gun.
“While an incident of this nature is one we hope to never be faced with, we are thankful that our students did the right thing by reporting the information to a trusted adult,” Schooley said. “This will be a message that we continue to communicate with our students while they are at school.”
He also expressed hope parents will voice the same message at home with their children.