An Emerson Elementary School student was reportedly discovered to have brought a loaded gun to school in their backpack Monday.
According to Mark Coplan, spokesperson for the Berkeley Unified School District, an Emerson Elementary School teacher was notified by another student that the child was in possession of “something dangerous.” After having a conversation with the boy — during which he revealed that he was carrying the gun in his backpack — the teacher immediately confiscated the weapon, Coplan said.
“We have a fairly good sense of what the child was thinking — their mental state — to the extent that it is very clear there was no intent to use it or show it to anyone at Emerson,” Coplan said.
The child reportedly found the gun in a duffel bag in a park, Coplan said, though school authorities are still unclear about the location of the park and the time the child discovered the weapon. The teacher confiscated the weapon late in the afternoon, at which point school officials contacted the Berkeley Police Department and Child Protective Services.
“This has never happened, and we don’t anticipate it happening again,” Coplan said.
After the discovery, Child Protective Services and an officer from BPD went to the Oakland house where the child lives and interviewed the parents, according to BPD spokesperson Sgt. Andrew Frankel. Frankel said that the parents have not currently been found responsible for the child’s discovery of the gun and that the child is still with his mother in Oakland.
According to Coplan, teachers spoke with students Tuesday about the importance of reporting suspicious discoveries to a trusted adult. Each teacher spoke to their classes, and the principal talked to each class individually.
“As horrific as a situation like this is, as threatening as it feels, it’s really important to take the opportunity when something like this happens to really have a teachable moment with kids,” Coplan said. “We want to find a positive, which is to get our kids to think about how they act when they come across these dangerous situations.”
Anderson Lanham is the lead crime & courts reporter. Contact her at [email protected].