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4/24/2013 6:00:00 AM
Gun at school lands teen in jail
By DEBBIE BURT MYERS and STEVEN THOMAS


A juvenile remains in custody after he was arrested on multiple charges, including having a gun on the campus of Neshoba Central High School last week.

The arrest of the 17-year-old who is not a student at NCHS, followed an altercation at the school involving a principal, teacher and student, the authorities said.

The juvenile was charged with possession of a firearm on a school campus after the investigation found that he had apparently brought a shotgun on campus a day earlier, said Sheriff Tommy Waddell.

The juvenile was also charged with possession of ammunition on a school campus, one count of assault on a principal, one count of assault on a school teacher, one count of assault on a minor, resisting arrest by fleeing, providing false information to a police officer, trespassing on the school campus and obstructing operation of a school bus.

No one was seriously injured in the incident, which occurred shortly before classes started on Wednesday, April 17.

The juvenile is being held in the Scott County Juvenile Detention Center.

Neshoba County Superintendent of Education Tommy Dearing said the juvenile posed as a student and boarded a Neshoba Central bus that morning.

He was waiting with a student at a bus stop and told the driver he spent the night at his house, Dearing said.

"He had the aid of another student," he said, noting that it was not uncommon for a student to board a different bus in the morning.

"Numerous times students ride other buses and bus drivers see different students each day," he said. "The [bus] drivers do a good job of monitoring who gets on their buses."

The juvenile arrived on the high school campus and proceeded to the school gym where other students were being held until classes began, he said.

The juvenile then got into an altercation with another student, which was soon broken up by nearby teachers, Dearing said, noting the juvenile sought the student out.

The juvenile and the student involved in the altercation were escorted to the main office and were being questioned when the juvenile fled on foot.

"He ran off campus to an apartment complex across from the school where he was quickly apprehended," Waddell said.

During the investigation, officers viewed a video on a cell phone which showed the juvenile with what appeared to be a shotgun in a vehicle on the Neshoba Central campus a day earlier on Tuesday, April 16, Waddell said.

Superintendent Dearing added that while the juvenile was on campus with a gun, it wasn't for an extended period.

"He drove in, did a U-turn and drove back out," Dearing said.

The student who helped him gain access to the bus and campus was disciplined, Dearing said.

In wake of the incident, county school administrators are reviewing safety measures.

"It's an ongoing process," Dearing said, noting the confrontation was an isolated incident. "We're looking at improvements."

Dearing said they were examining two specific areas: access to buses and access to the campus.

Among changes being considered are an assigned stop for each vehicle entering the campus and the possibility some type of student ID.

"We're looking at ID systems but there's nothing concrete yet," Dearing said. "We're still in the discovery phase."

Dearing said all the officers and school personnel involved in the incident acted appropriately and according to school policy.

The county school district has three certified and armed officers on campus daily.

New surveillance cameras and other security measures were added in both the city and county school districts in wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, in which 26 were killed.

Under state law, a 17-year-old can't be issued a gun permit, Waddell said.



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