Hearing Planned For Kindergartner Caught With Gun - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

11/10/05 - Lufkin

Hearing Planned For Kindergartner Caught With Gun

by Ramonica R. Jones


Until recently, federal law called for the automatic expulsion of anyone caught with a gun on a school campus, but the kindergartner who brought a .22-caliber pistol to Garrett Primary in Lufkin was suspended.

"There's been a change in the law that calls for discretion, for consideration, of certain circumstances like this, so that we may have an opportunity to return the student in a situation like this back to a school setting sooner than we would have in past years," said Deputy Superintendent Roy Knight.

Knight plans to meet with the boy's parents Monday to find out how he ended up with the gun in the first place. Police believe his brother put it in his backpack, so he didn't even know he had it with him at school the next day.

Knight doesn't know when, or if, the boy will be able to go back to Garrett.

"We have a hearing set up with the mom and the dad to consider the circumstances and make a determination on what'll be in the student's best interest, as well as the elementary that the student came from."

Counselors say it's easy to tell a child they did something wrong, but it's not easy to get them to understand why it was wrong.

"It's going to be difficult, especially with a five-year-old, because of the lack of moral reasoning," said licensed school psychologist, Sid Epperson. "Moral reasoning really doesn't start developing until later, so a five-year-old is going to be more concrete in their thinking process and not realize right from wrong."

Knowing they'll get in trouble isn't always enough to stop kids from misbehaving, but counselors know showing them the consequences for their actions can be a big step in the right direction.

Knight said school leaders are making every effort to get the boy back into a school setting as soon as possible.

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