Florida 1st-grader takes loaded gun to school, deputies say

Meadowbrook Elementary School teacher found weapon in backpack, sheriff’s office says

Deputies said they responded to Meadowbrook Elementary School after a first grade teacher located a loaded handgun in the backpack of one of his first grade students. (Alachua County Sheriff's Office)

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – A first grader accidentally brought a backpack with a loaded gun to school Wednesday, according to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said they responded to Meadowbrook Elementary School, located at 11525 NW 39th Ave. in Gainesville, around 1 p.m. after a first grade teacher located the handgun in the backpack of one of his students.

The school resource deputy responded to the front office and the firearm was immediately made safe and stored in a secure location away from the school.

According to sheriff’s officials, it was learned the student with the firearm had not brought a backpack to school in months so their teacher made a request to the parent that they bring a bag so that materials could be sent home with them.

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The mother of the student told the first grader to go into the trunk of their vehicle Wednesday and get an old and tattered backpack, not knowing her firearm was in there, deputies said.

According to the sheriff’s office, the mother typically stores the firearm in the glovebox or under the driver’s seat of the vehicle. She later lent the vehicle to another family member, who was uncomfortable with the firearm in the vehicle and placed it in the backpack in the trunk without telling the mother, deputies said.

Deputies added the family member didn’t think that the backpack belonged to the child because they were known to have newer and nicer backpacks at home. That was the backpack the student later brought into school Wednesday, deputies said.

Based on the investigation, no criminal charges are being filed and the Department of Children and Family Services was contacted for further follow-up.

“Sheriff (Clovis Watson Jr.) wants to thank the observant teacher and school administrators who identified a serious situation and immediately enacted the notification of law enforcement to ensure the safety of everyone at the school,” the post reads. “While this situation appears to be a terrible accident, we want to impress upon our community the desperate need for safe and responsible gun ownership, as this incident could have had a far worse outcome.”

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