Thursday nearly ended with a bang at Oak Hill Elementary School when a kindergarten student reportedly showed up with a pellet gun and threatened his teacher and possibly other students.
The unidentified 5-year-old boy brought the pellet gun in his backpack, according to Escondido police. He became upset during class, took the gun out of his backpack and aimed it at the teacher, police said.
The teacher took the pellet gun away without further incident, police said, later telling the boy that it was not appropriate to bring a pellet gun to school. The incident occurred just around 1:15 p.m., and the gun was not loaded, Varso said.
After a Friday meeting between the boy, his mother and school officials, the boy was suspended for the day. District schools go on 2-week spring break starting Monday. No final decision has been made as to further punishment, school officials said.
”He pulled the gun from his backpack and did something threatening toward the teacher in some fashion,” Escondido police Lt. Ed Varso said Friday. ”School officials and resource officers are meeting today to determine how to handle the situation.’
The incident wasn’t considered a criminal matter due to the student’s age, but officers were investigating whether a child endangerment issue existed at the boy’s home, Varso said. Escondido Union School District administrators were responsible for any possible punishment, he said
Later Friday, Varso said it had been determined no child endangerment issues existed. Meanwhile, district officials sent letters out to all Oak Hill parents, telling them about the incident and remind them of what is appropriate to take to school, Kelly Prins, EUSD assistant superintendent of student support services, said.
Prins provided further details about the incident, saying it happened when students were lining up at the classroom door to be sent home. The boy took out the pellet gun and brandished it as if he were playing, according to Prins. The principal happened to be in the classroom, sent the kids out of the room and took the airgun, according to Prins. the gun belonged to an his older brother, Varso said.
This was the second incident at the school involving a gun, according to Escondido police Lt. Kevin Toth. A suspect with a high-powered rifle strapped to his back rode his bike onto campus during a burglary last August, but escaped the scene.
District officials said administrators at the school failed to follow protocol at that time, waiting 10 to 15 minutes to call police. The suspect was never apprehended.
Pellet airguns sometimes are considered synonymous with BB guns and sometimes confused for them. Pellets generally are made of lead or a mixture of lead and other metals, and softer than BBs. However, they are more accurate. Pellets and guns come in various shapes and sizes.