FERGUSON, Mo. (KSDK)
- A McCluer South-Berkeley High School student was arrested Wednesday after school officials found a loaded pistol in his backpack. The gun was also stolen.
At approximately 10:10 a.m. Wednesday, a student reported to administrators and a school resource/police officer that they suspected another student might have a weapon.
Administrators and the SRO located the student and he was taken to the office. Officials searched the students backpack, and ultimately found a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine. The gun was reported stolen from St. Louis County.
The student, who has been identified as 17-year-old Davion Henderson from Hazelwood, was taken into custody and charged with unlawful use of a weapon -- a felony. Bond has been set at $10,000. An expulsion hearing is scheduled for the next 10 days.
Henderson's mother, Camille Smith, says she has no idea where her son got the gun. She also did not know he was being bullied until her son called her from the office after the gun was discovered.
"He said mom I'm sorry but they following me," Smith said.
Smith says her son has no criminal record and has been bullied in the past. Smith says her son attempted suicide in 8th grade.
"I feel that he was in danger for his life. I mean why would a child carry a gun to school?" Smith said.
District policy states that a student may not possess, handle or transmit any weapons -- including items that look like weapons -- on school property. Doing so can result in long-term suspensions (up to 180-days) or expulsion.
When school officials found the gun in Henderson's backpack, they say he was apologetic and started to cry, aware that he was in trouble. Interim Principal Betty Fagan said Henderson told them he got the gun "from the neighborhood."
Fagan said he told her he had the gun to protect himself from bullies in the community.
Before the gun was found, Superintendent Art McCoy says Henderson was "hovering" around some teachers and administrators, wanting advice. He told one administrator that he felt sick and he had even called his parents to go home.
Read below for the full text of a letter sent to parents regarding the incident from Interim Principal Betty Fagan:
Dear McCluer South-Berkeley Family,
I am writing to inform you about an incident that occurred today. The school administration received a tip that a student might have possession of a weapon. Within a minute of the tip, the student was located, while headed to the principal's office, and questioned by the building administrator and school police officer. They found him to be in possession of a loaded firearm in his backpack.
The Ferguson Police Department immediately took the student into custody and transported him to the police station.
The student will face disciplinary action in accordance with District policy. A student may not possess, transmit or handle any weapons - including anything that looks like a weapon -- on school property. Such actions result in long-term suspensions (up to 180 days) or expulsion.
Providing a safe environment that allows children to learn is our first priority. I appreciate our school community and staff for the tip, swift actions, and professionalism in the handling this situation.
Please take this opportunity to remind your children that weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited on school property and encourage them to report unsafe situations.
Thank you for your continued support,