Student Brings Loaded Gun to School in Columbus, Ga.

A ninth-grader at the Academic Success Center in Muscogee County, Ga., near Columbus, was arrested last week after bringing a loaded handgun to school, officials said.

The 15-year-old was charged with carrying a weapon on school property and theft by receiving stolen property from another state.

Information about where the student is being held was unavailable Tuesday.

Brenda Dozier, the Muscogee County School District's assistant superintendent for student services, said the student was suspended and will go to a discipline tribunal either today or Friday. At that time, the student will testify to a panel of administrators, and they will give a recommendation that can be appealed to the school board.

According to the district's discipline policy, a student who brings a weapon on campus can be expelled for one calendar year or permanently.

Dozier said the district officials haven't discussed changing security policies at that school or other schools as a result of this incident, but officials likely will discuss that at the tribunal. School district security director Sonny Lollar said he thinks schools are secure and no policies need to be changed. Efforts to reach

Academic Success Center principal Sandy Denham said the student came to school Sept. 27 with the handgun, which a Columbus police report said was stolen. Denham said the student told him he hid the gun outside the school before entering and going through metal detectors. After breakfast, at about 7:45 a.m., the student retrieved the gun and re-entered the building, Denham said.

Another student told administrators the 15-year-old had a gun on campus, and they called him to a teacher's lounge to talk to him, Denham said. The student, whose name isn't being released because he is a juvenile, then peacefully handed over the loaded gun, a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun, Denham said.

"He didn't bolt, he didn't run, he didn't argue," Denham said. "There was never an imminent threat because of the way it was handled. It was perfect."

Denham credits the faculty's good relationship with students as the reason the ninth-grader fully cooperated.

Dozier said this is the first time in two years that a student brought a gun inside a district school.

Lollar said the Academic Success Center and the Rose Hill Center are the only district schools with metal detector units. All other schools have metal detector wands, he said. The Academic Success Center is an alternative school for students struggling with their academics; the Rose Hill Center is for students struggling with their behavior.

Lollar said doors aren't locked from the inside, but they are from the outside. He said he suspects another student opened a side door to let the student in.

The ninth-grader told administrators that he had an altercation with a high school student the weekend before and felt like the student might come to his school to settle their differences.

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