KEARNS — An 11-year-old elementary school student has been charged in juvenile court with bringing a gun to school and threatening his classmates, Granite School District officials said Tuesday.
The West Kearns Elementary student was taken to a juvenile detention center and charged with one count of possession of deadly weapon on school property and three counts of aggravated assault, district spokesman Ben Horsley said.
The 6th grader was caught with a handgun and ammunition Monday after another student reported she was threatened with it.
The handgun was not loaded. Both the gun and ammunition were found in the boy's backpack.
There was fear and anger from parents Tuesday morning as they dropped their children off at West Kearns Elementary. And some are refusing to bring their kids to school.
Ashlee Gordon is taking her 7-year-old son home.
"He's my only kid, my only kid, and it's heartbreaking to think he might not come home," she said. "I don't want to have to be at work and worry about my child not coming home before Christmas."
The 6th grader brought a .22 caliber handgun to school and allegedly threatened a fellow student with it during recess.
Isabelle Rios told her teacher, who got a hold of the gun and was able to take the boy to the office.
"He pulled out a gun and he put it to my head, me and my friend," Isabelle said. "He was going to kill us."
She said the incident took place during morning recess, but she did not alert her teacher until the end of the school day.
"He's my only kid, my only kid, and it's heartbreaking to think he might not come home."
Horlsey said the weapon belonged to an extended family member who had been staying with the student's parents who brought the gun into the home. The family member had recently left the home but apparently left the gun behind.
According to the district, the boy claimed the weapon was to protect himself in case of a shooting.
"He's made a poor decision here," said Ben Horsley, with the Granite School District. "I don't feel this child is an evil person; he just made a bad decision."
The 11-year-old boy was taken into custody Monday night and now faces several charges including possession of a weapon on school property. He will not be attending the school in the future.
"Depending on the criminal outcome of this, we're working on an alternative placement for him," Horsley said.
The district won't go into detail about how the child got the gun or who it belongs to. But parents of fellow students say they want answers. They say they're also upset that the district didn't tell them about the incident until 5 p.m. Monday — two hours after it was first reported.
The district says the delayed was because administration was tied up handling the situation. Today there is extra staff and police on hand to talk to those parents with concerns.
"I don't feel this child is an evil person; he just made a bad decision."
"I'm scared; I don't want to leave her," said Courtney Morgan, a parent.
There are also crisis counselors on hand for the students. Gordon said she's already talked to her son about what to do if it ever happens again.
"I go tell the teacher (if someone brings) a knife or a gun," Seth Gordon said.
Meanwhile, the fear of guns on school campuses following the Connecticut tragedy resulted in another Utah school increasing security Tuesday because of an alleged threat.
The Weber County Sheriff's Office learned of a possible gun threat at Bonneville High School. Several students were interviewed, but investigators ultimately determined the threat was nothing more than "a rumor that has spread through social media," according to the sheriff's office.
"When contacted, not a single student can name a subject who has stated they were bringing a gun to school," the sheriff's office stated.
Nevertheless, security at Bonneville was increased Tuesday.