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Northside student brings automatic weapons to school

A Northside student has been charged with brining two automatic weapons to school Friday, according to School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis.
The 9-year-old, whose name is protected as a juvenile, was arrested and charged with carrying/possessing a weapon on school property by School Resource Officer Duke Donaldson, who investigated the case.
A Northside faculty member Friday afternoon observed one of her students holding in his mouth what appeared to be a magazine from a gun, according to Officer Donaldson’s incident report.
The teacher approached the child and asked him what he had and he responded a harmonica. At that point, other students told the teacher that the student and the accused both had weapons.
During questioning, officials found a .25 caliber automatic pistol and a 9mm pistol. According to Superintendent Pharis, neither the magazine nor the other pistol was loaded with ammunition and the students had no ammunition.
After extensive questioning, Officer Donaldson determined that the accused had obtained the guns from the house where he and his mother are living.
The child who brought the guns to school was charged, but the other juvenile, who was playing with the magazine, was not charged with a crime. Police could not determine if the second child was in possession of one of the guns.
Dr. Pharis notes that state law says that students who bring guns to school may be expelled up to one year.
“Because of the age of the child and the lack of intent to harm anyone, we have suspended the child who brought the guns to school for 10 days. The student will go before the student disciplinary tribunal, and we will recommend he be expelled through the Christmas holidays,” Pharis said.
The second child, who was not charged, has been suspended through Thanksgiving.
“We are offering to work with both students after school in reading and math to make sure they do not get so far behind they can’t catch up,” Dr. Pharis said.
He added, “The Northside faculty did exactly what they were supposed do and handled the situation well. My first job and the first job of teachers and administrators is safety. This is a guns at school issue, and I believe we have dealt with it appropriately.”
The school superintendent happened to be at the school at the time of the incident, but Principal Gloria Fuller was away from the school campus at a workshop.

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