Mom arrested; other kids hailed as heroes
Several Pass Christian Elementary students are being hailed as heroes in their community this week after disarming a Kindergarten classmate who brought a loaded handgun to school.
“The students realized it was a dangerous situation right away,” Pass Christian Police Chief Tim Hendricks said. “Everyone did what they were supposed to do. I have to pat them on their back. From the students to the school staff to the officers on duty; they all did a fantastic job, but it was those kids who really saved the day!”
According to Hendricks, the incident happened early Monday morning on campus just before the ring of the first school bell. The children, Hendricks said, were gathered in the cafeteria waiting for classes to begin when the child showed several others the weapon in his book bag. Some of those students, Hendricks said, immediately reported the information to the assistant principal who then had the gun quickly secured and the child escorted to the front of the building.
The entire incident lasted for only about 15 minutes, officials said, and an investigation to find out how the child obtained the weapon was launched.
School Superintendent Dr. Carla Evers issued a call-out through the school districts emergency system in order to inform parents of the situation.
In the call-out, Dr. Evers praised the students for their “quick thinking” and school staff members for handling the situation with a “grave sense of urgency” which she said kept the students safe. She encouraged parents to refresh their children’s memory on a Pass Christian school motto, “If you see something, say something.”
“One of the core beliefs in the Pass Christian School District is that we believe students excel when they are valued, accepted, and safe,” Dr. Evers said. “As noted in the message that was shared with parents at Pass Christian Elementary School this morning, the situation was dealt with swiftly and without incident. It was the quick thinking and action by our students and administrative team that helped us secure the weapon and our school.”
Hendricks said his department has a pretty good idea of how the situation transpired.
“It’s heartbreaking that you have something like this happen,” Hendricks said. “To let an adult know is what saved this from turning into something much worse.”
The child’s mother was arrested soon after the incident Monday morning and charged with misdemeanor child neglect. She was taken to the police station where she was soon released on a pretrial bond issued by Harrison County Municipal Court Judge Phil Whittmann.
The Gazebo Gazette has chosen not to release the mothers name in order to further protect the child’s identity.
Hendricks and school officials say they hope parents will take the opportunity to reinforce proper safety lessons with their children.
“Be involved with your kids,” Hendricks said. “Explain the dangers of crossing the street 01 how deadly weapons can be.”
Dr. Evers also recommended parents inspect their children’s book bags each and everyday.