By Skip Anderson, Managing Editor
A school resource officer arrested an eighth-grader who brought a loaded pistol to a middle-school school dance May 17. No shots were fired and nobody was hurt.
Freedom Middle School Principal Kristi Jefferson notified parents of the incident via a recorded phone message and email shortly after authorities neutralized the threat.
“This evening at our 8th grade school dance information was given to administrators that a student present at the dance had a gun,” Jefferson wrote in the email labeled “Urgent message” in the subject line. “The School Resource Officer was present and arrested the student immediately. No one was harmed. Our school counselors will be available on Monday for any student who needs their services.”
The email message was sent to parents at 9:05 p.m., according to Susannah Gentry, communications director for FSSD.
“I saw a group of kids crying and I knew something was wrong,” said an eighth-grade girl who attended the dance. “The police in the lobby had a kid who everybody said had brought a gun to the dance. I saw him before the dance; he was walking behind me by himself when I handed my ticket in.”
The girl, who wore a prom-like gown to the dance, said the suspect was dressed appropriately for the formal event.
“He was wearing a suit,” she said. “But I never saw a gun.”
The dance took place in the school's gymnasium.
Sharon Puckett, spokesperson for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, said she did not know type of pistol the suspect was carrying.
“The SRO [Deputy Richard Cole] did not brandish his weapon at any point,” said Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long. “My understanding is that he and the principal confronted the suspect, who surrendered his weapon without incident.”
Suspect gun’s weapon was loaded, Long said.
Williamson County sheriff’s deputies transferred the suspect to the Juvenile Detention Center.
“The overriding message is that all of the components were in place and worked exactly the way they were intended through the School Resource Officer program,” FSSD Director of Schools Dr. David Snowden said in the release. “Our administrators, our faculty and staff, and most importantly, our students knew exactly what to do in this situation and we are so thankful today that we can say no one was physically harmed.”
According to the release, the suspect will be subject to FSSD’s zero-tolerance policy for offenders who bring weapons to school functions, which states, “Violators of this section shall be subject to suspension and/or expulsion from school for one calendar year.”
The parent of a child who attended the dance seemed shocked that such an event took place in Franklin.
“The fact is that there are so many incidences nowadays with kids with guns,” she said. “But you’re still not prepared for something like that.”
Posted on: 5/18/2013