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West Kearns Elementary. Photo - KSTU Fox 13 Salt Lake City West Kearns Elementary. Photo - KSTU Fox 13 Salt Lake City  

Sixth-grade student brings handgun to school for protection in wake of Sandy Hook

An 11-year-old boy brought an unloaded .22-caliber pistol to West Kearns Elementary School in Kearns, Utah on Monday, and pulled it out of his backpack at recess.

The sixth-grade student reportedly told classmates that his parents suggested bringing the weapon to school as a safeguard after the mass shooting Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to Salt Lake City Fox affiliate KSTU.

“At recess, he pointed a gun to my head and said he was going to kill me,” said Isabel Rios, another sixth-grader, according to KSTU.

The incident ended without injury.

“Once the teacher knew there was a weapon in the classroom, the student was apprehended in 30 to 45 seconds and immediately brought down to the office,” said Ben Horsley, a spokesperson for the local school district told KSTU. “The police were on site within five to 10 minutes.”

A spokesperson for the local police said an investigation was ongoing, the station said. Investigators have yet to determine whether his parents were actually involved.

The boy was transported to a juvenile facility. Possible criminal charges are pending.

School district officials waited until after 3 p.m. to tell all the teachers at the school what had transpired that morning. Only at 5:30 p.m. did the district relay a recorded telephone message to the parents of students at the school. By that time, many students had told their parents the scuttlebutt.

Some parents were not pleased about the way officials handled the incident.

“There was no lockdown,” John Klaus, the father of one West Kearns Elementary student, told KSTU. “No one was called. Nothing was done. And then we had to hear it from our kids.”

School officials justified their response by claiming a lockdown would have been unnecessary and might have frightened the children.

Some parents of students at West Kearns chose to keep their children home from school on Tuesday as a precaution.

“I don’t want to have to be at work or anything like that, and worry about my child possibly not coming home, especially before Christmas,” Ashlee Gordon, one of the parents who kept kids home, told KSTU.

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