Original post made
on Apr 9, 2011
Firearm at Huff School on 5 April and no one bats an eye. No reporting.
Yes, the firearm at Huff caught my attention too. Details please.
A young student brought a toy "airsoft" gun to school in his bag.
There is much, much more to this story. An airsoft gun loads a projectile and shoots it at high velocity. It can definitely inflict arm. There must be more to this story. Why was the gun in his bag, what about zero tolerance at the schools, and what actions or repercussions followed? The boy also brandished and threatened other children with it.
I called both the police department and the schools as soon as I saw this item in the police log to investigate. Officials at both organizations were not very concerned about the incident.
Craig Goldman, superintendent of the Mountain View Whisman School District, said that he could not disclose exactly what action was taken, though he did say that neither real firearms, nor toy weapons, such as the clear plastic Airsoft gun (or plastic swords accompanying Halloween costumes for that matter), are allowed at district schools.
According to Goldman, no students were threatened. The student who brought the toy gun showed it to his friends. Officials at the school learned about the boy having the toy gun and it went from there.
Quoting Goldman saying he could not disclose anything and the reciting the rules for firearms or toy firearms at school is hardly analysis of any sort. And what did the police say? Isn't their a zero tolerance policy at the schools? How does that fit into the story? A toy gun and an Airsoft gun are two very different things. You just lumped them together into a harmless category. The Airsoft shoots projectiles at a high velocity. The child was shooting the thing on the school campus during school hours. Are the school safe when this sort of thing happens and neither the police nor the school administration show much concern? Are the rules being made clear to parents and students? Apparently not.
As I said above, I was told that the Airsoft gun was only shown to a few other students -- never fired. If you know otherwise, I would be interested in hearing from you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
However, according to Liz Wylie, spokeswoman for the Mountain View Police Department, the boy in this case didn't pull the gun out and didn't threaten anybody with it.
In fact, Wylie said, "he was so young that he had trouble understanding why bringing this toy to school was a problem."
He showed it to a few friends and the school found out about it. Wylie said that the school called the police for a number of reasons -- to make sure that no laws were broken (there weren't any laws broken) and so the police could reinforce the lesson with the young boy (he is 10 years old) that he ought not to bring such an item to school.
Wylie stressed that it was highly unlikely that anyone would have been hurt even if the boy did fire the weapon (again, if you know that he did, you are welcome to write me). She explained that the gun fires "low-velocity plastic pellets," that could hurt someone if fired at someone's eye at very close range, but wouldn't be likely to hurt anyone if fired from further back.
Given the constraints of our small staff -- two full-time reporters -- we are not always able to cover everything that happens in Mountain View with the depth our readers would like.
I can assure you that if this incident had escalated -- if a student was injured by the Airsoft gun, and certainly if it were an actual gun -- we would have covered this story in greater detail.
The boy was not arrested, as no crime was committed. The school has its own rules to deal with these matters. Again, as I stated above, the school did not share what the boy's punishment was, if anything at all.
One last thing:
The case was originally listed as "firearm on school grounds" in the police media log. It has since been reclassified.