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Photo courtesy of imgur.com

It was one week ago today, a 14-year-old high school student attending North Marion High School in Marion County, FL brought a LOADED TWENTY GAUGE SHOTGUN, AMMUNITION, and a KNIFE to school via the Marion County School Bus. These students had mask and gloves as well. The school resource Officer found the weapons along with ammunition, mask and gloves under the bleachers on the school campus. Fortunately another student reported the weapons and two teens have been arrested and charged with.

The 14-year-old student is charged with

• 2 counts of possession of a firearm on school property
• 1 count of possession of a firearm by a minor
• 1 count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery

The 16-year-old student is charged with

• 1 count of possession of a firearm on school property
• 1 count of possession of weapon on school property
• 1 count of possession of a firearm by a minor
• 1 count conspiracy to commit armed robbery

The above information courtesy of http://www.marionso.com/mediarelease.php?id=12065

They were both arrested and taken to the Marion County Sheriff Office Juvenile Detention Center. It is reported that these two students while spending the day in ISS (In School Suspension) plotted and planned to rob a couple of stores near the school and to do a car jacking. I’m jumping ahead. These students originally told School Officials that they were planning to do recreational shooting after school/over the weekend which was their reason for having the weapons on school grounds.  This admission prompted school officials to say that no staff or faculty was ever in any danger. No alerts were issued and many students or staff had no idea the danger they were in. School Grounds + Gun = Automatic Expulsion, I thought so too but, but, not so fast. It was stated that the future of these children attending North Marion High or any other Public School would be left up to a vote of the Marion County School Board (MCSB), what? What happened to, ZERO TOLERANCE regarding guns/weapons on school campus? What is there a need to vote on, they should have been immediately expelled. Fortunately the Marion County Sheriff Officers (MCSO) did their JOB, and it was later determined that these teen children were in fact lying, go figure. It was during the MCSO that their plot to commit robberies and a carjacking in the area came to light. Problem is, I believe the truth is even bigger than this. I believe these students were actually plotting an attack at the school. They were in ISS, I’m sure they were not too happy having to spend at least one full day in ISS. They possibly did research and realized they would face harsher penalties if they stated they were planning an attack on students or staff than to say they were planning robberies and a car jacking. As I said before I realize that unfortunately we live in a society where these things can happen. My major problem is the response or lack there of, from school administrators. They were very nonchalant in how they handled this situation. First of all, to assume that no students or staff was in danger at anytime is ignorant and false. All students and staff were in danger. Including the school bus full of students and the bus driver who unknowingly transported these two teens to school and their weapons including, A LOADED 20 GAUGE SHOTGUN. The shooting rampage could have begun at the Bus Stop and continued upon the arrival of the School Bus. I don’t know about these Shot Gun Shells, but let me put this into perspective for you, I do know some Shot Gun shells if not all have multiple pellets in them. Given number of pellets contained in the shot-gun shell, wind speed, wind gust, distance, skill, velocity, etc…. 7-9 students could be shot and fatally injured from just one shot-gun shell. This TWENTY GAUGE SHOT GUN WAS LOADED WITH FOUR SHOT GUN SHELLS. 4*9=36 there was a propensity for THIRTY SIX STUDENTS to be shot and possibly FATALLY injured. Just from the four Shells loaded in the gun, thing is they had even more ammunition in a Zip Lock bag. The stores they say they were planning to rob, were small convenience type stores. They may have 1-2, 3-4 employees at one time at the most, these students had bigger plans. Their ammunition far exceeded the plan they stated to police.

In Marion County, FL there are a number of schools, elementary and middle schools wherein students CANNOT carry Book bags.  Why are High School students permitted to not only carry book bags but extra bags? With all these weapons on school grounds, shootings occurring at schools students should only be allowed to carry clear book bags in every State, City, Town, etc… There need to be a Federal Law, not something left up to each Governor or Mayor.

Members of the Marion County, FL school board including superintendent Jim Yancey need to go through extensive training/preparation in how to properly handle weapons on school grounds and or armed students. Students who rode the Marion County Bus in route to North Marion High School one week ago today were very fortunate, many prayers were answered that day. The Students and staff who reported to class and or work at North Marion High School one week ago today were very fortunate, Thank God no one was harmed and whatever plot these children were planning was foiled. However this was a test and despite the ending, the MCSB failed. This cannot be repeated. This was not the first time a child has had a weapon at this school, but an alert at the very least was issued. We entrust these people with the safety of our children and we expect them to answer an act accordingly. To not lock the school down, an alert faculty of the danger is not what’s in the best interest and safety of students. Schools have been alerted when an armed individual is in the area, to have loaded weapons on school campus and no alert with so many young lives at stake is irresponsible to say the least. The school board should have learned better and so in the future we are expecting them to do better and respond appropriately and the way they responded one week ago today was very inappropriate and a risky gamble with many young lives.