Students bring guns to school for protection, experts say
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools has discovered at least ten guns on campus so far this year, and some behavioral therapists and police believe students are bringing the weapons to class for their own protection.
The most recent gun on JCPS campus was found Tuesday at Marion C. Moore School. The principal sent a letter to parents that said the weapon was found in a student’s backpack and was never used in a threatening manner. Louisville Metro Police told WAVE 3 News the gun was stolen and loaded.
The student was disciplined per JCPS policy, which ranges from suspension to criminal charges.
According to WAVE 3 News sources, the student was then charged and released to their parents.
LMPD Chief Erika Shields spoke about guns in schools during a roundtable discussion on SROs last Wednesday; she said the violence in the community bleeds into schools.
“There are guns going into the schools every single day, there are gang members going into the schools every single day, and the conflicts that we are seeing in the community don’t stop just because [students] go into the schools,” Shields said.
According to Shields, the problem is made worse when students are bussed across town and sent to school with rival gang members where there is bound to be conflict.
19-year-old shooting survivor Victoria Gwynn said there were never problems with weapons or gun violence when she went to Pleasure Ridge Park High School.
“From Kindergarten to 12th grade, I’ve never experienced as much gun violence and guns being around until 2019 when my brother (Christian Gwynn) got killed,” Gwynn said.
Gwynn doesn’t understand how and why children are getting their hands on guns.
“It’s terrifying; they’re like babies, middle schoolers, elementary; they’re getting guns and bringing them to school,” she said. “I believe the adults play some type of part in it, because where are these young kids getting guns from at this age?”
A JCPS spokesperson told WAVE 3 News the district has discovered around half the number of guns on campus this year compared to this time in 2019.
However, previous WAVE 3 News reporting says in Nov. 2019, JCPS had found six guns on school property. This year, the district has found 10 guns so far, including one airsoft gun and a pellet gun.
Gwynn said it’s possible some students are bringing guns to school because they don’t feel safe, but instead, they should reach out to a trusted adult.
“Don’t put everybody else in danger because you feel like you’re in danger,” Gwynn said, offering advice to students who bring guns to school. “Let a counselor know, an adult, somebody who can possibly help you out.”
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