Officials horrified after first graders get ahold of gun meant to protect school against mass shootings
Blond boy holding a gun (Shutterstock)

Officials at an Ohio elementary school were shocked to learn that a gun stored on campus was found by two first-grade students who picked it up and removed it from its case, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

The incident took place at a district transportation office near Highland Elementary School in South Bloomfield Township in mid-March, but only recently came to light. News of the mishap has reportedly divided the community over arming teachers in schools.

According to reports, transportation director Vicky Nelson, who was trained as part of the district’s concealed carry program and allowed to have a gun on school grounds, left her firearm in an unlocked case as she went to the restroom. Also in the office was her grandson and the daughter of a co-worker, who were both first graders. When she returned from the restroom, she saw that the gun had been taken out of its case and left on the desk.

“I’m assuming that the child picked up the gun from behind the desk and had been holding it,” Superintendent Dan Freund said.

Freund reportedly removed Nelson from the concealed carry program this April and suspended her without pay for three days, but he didn't report the incident to police, leaving Morrow County Sheriff John L. Hinton to find out about the incident only recently through someone's Facebook post.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

School boards must, by state law, adopt safety plans and policies in a public session, said Thomas Ash, director of government relations for the Buckeye Association of School Administrators.

But school districts are not required to reveal details about firearm use, said Jim Irvine, president of the Buckeye Firearms Association, which advocates for gun rights and whose foundation trains school personnel to protect students. He said more districts are adopting gun programs but doing so secretly.

Freund said he became "physically sick" when he learned of the incident, adding that other were "horrified" as well, but he said that if a mass shooting were to happen, critical incident medical response is 20 minutes away from the school.

“If someone were to get in with an AR (assault-style rifle capable of firing dozens of rounds in seconds), we’re talking devastation,” he said. “Is it worth the risk to carry and prevent that?”

Featured image via Shutterstock