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Student brings toy gun to Carthage Middle

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CARTHAGE — An airsoft gun was found Tuesday morning in a student’s book bag at Carthage Middle School.

The student was suspended for an undisclosed amount of time.

According to a news release, the toy gun was found after a student notified a teacher of an alleged gun possession about 9 a.m. After the administration was notified, a locker search was started immediately.

“The district has a zero tolerance for any behaviors that potentially endanger or interfere with the safety of all students and staff,” Superintendent Peter J. Turner said in a news release. “Students who bring such items to school will be disciplined according to the school district’s policies.”

Mr. Turner said the school’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer, who is also a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy, was made aware of the situation.

He did not comment on the student’s grade.

“A normal procedure, which was followed today, was the student was suspended,” Mr. Turner said.

He did not comment on how long the student was suspended for, but he said a superintendent cannot suspend a student for more than five days.

Mr. Turner said a conversation with the student revealed that the toy gun was brought to school by accident.

“Our understanding is he was playing with someone yesterday and forgot to take it out of his backpack,” he said. “There was no malice or intent to cause harm.”

Such concerns in the past have been handled in a similar fashion. In late December, following the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., a Carthage High School employee found a bomb threat — which turned out to be a hoax — scrawled on a note in the bathroom. The student who was responsible for the note was apprehended before the police arrived and faced suspension.

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