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Published: Saturday, 2/16/2013

False gun report causes students to leave class

BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER

More than 160 students at Toledo’s Raymer Elementary — more than a quarter of the total enrollment — were pulled out of school Friday morning by alarmed parents reacting to erroneous TV reports that a third-grader had brought a gun to school.

Sgt. Joe Hefferman, spokesman for the Toledo Police Department, said a 9-year-old student was observed by a neighborhood resident showing a BB gun to a classmate while walking to school.

The resident notified school officials, who contacted police.

Police questioned the boy when he arrived at school and later found the empty gun at his aunt’s house.

No threats were ever made and nobody was ever in danger, police and school officials said.

“The kid did not have a gun,” Sergeant Heffernan said. It was unclear Friday where in proximity to the school the student was when he showed his classmate the BB gun.

Several TV stations began reporting shortly before 9:30 a.m. that “a student with a gun was spotted at Raymer Elementary School.”

Anxious parents soon began arriving and removing their children from the building, Jim Gault, the district’s chief academic officer, said.

About 571 students are enrolled at the elementary school, according to school officials.

The TV reports caused a lot of confusion in the district, Patty Mazur, the district’s spokeswoman said.

“We were a little disappointed in the misinformation that got reported," Mr. Gault said.

Even though the BB gun was never brought onto school grounds, school administrators might still take disciplinary action, which could include expelling the youth, Mr. Gault said.

“Even though there was no immediate threat to our students, safety is our priority,” Mr. Gault said. “We also have a responsibility for the safety of our students on their way to and from school.”



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