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NCSO: Boy brings pellet gun to school

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- An Oak Hill Elementary School fourth-grader has been referred to law enforcement and could be suspended from school after bringing an air soft pellet gun to school on Thursday morning.

About 8:30 a.m. Thursday, school administrators removed the student from class after another student reported seeing the pellet gun, according to Sherri Davis Viniard, director of Public Relations for the Newton County School System, who commented on the incident Thursday evening.

NCSO spokesman Lt. Tyrone Oliver said law enforcement received notification about the weapon about 4 p.m. and the incident was still under investigation as of Friday.

"It was an air soft pellet gun, and it's not illegal for him to have, but it is illegal for him to have it on school property," Oliver said. "He said he did not bring it to school with the intention to harm anybody, but was going to a friend's house, or a day care, after school and he wanted to show it to someone."

No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the incident.

The mother of the student who reported the gun, Lee Ann Goforth, said someone from the school called her about 1:30 p.m. Thursday to tell her that her son had reported a serious matter but they wouldn't tell her what it was over the phone -- she had to wait until he came home, and then they scheduled a meeting for Friday morning to discuss it.

Upon arriving home from school, she said her son alleged that the boy threatened to shoot him if he told about it. Goforth said she planned to inform NCSO officers of the threat on Friday.

During a meeting with school administrators on Friday morning, Goforth said they told her that the student with the gun would return to school in 10 days. After showing concern over the student and her son being in the same class, she was told she could move her child to another class if she prefers, according to Viniard.

"I don't want any repercussions on my child ... but he did nothing wrong," Goforth said, adding that she is considering home school as an option for her son to keep him away from situations like this.

Viniard said NCSS is following the procedures listed in the district's elementary school student handbook to punish the student. According to the Newton County Board of Education's weapons policy, any student bringing a gun onto school property shall be referred for a disciplinary hearing and could be suspended for one year or more.

Any student who brings a firearm or weapon, as defined in state or federal law, to school also must be referred to the appropriate criminal justice or juvenile delinquency authorities.

News Editor Barbara Knowles contributed to this story.