An 8-year-old boy who brought a loaded semiautomatic handgun to Hilltop Elementary School yesterday has been suspended for three days and charged as a juvenile with possessing a deadly weapon on school grounds, county officials said.
The boy, whose family recently moved to the 2700 block of Wegworth Lane in the Lakeland section of South Baltimore, was released to the custody of his mother.
Police said the child took the .32-caliber pistol, loaded with three rounds, from a box that had not been unpacked since his family moved last week.
The handgun belongs to a boyfriend of the child's mother, police said.
"His natural curiosity took over, and he took [the gun] to school to show his friends," said Officer Randy Bell, a county police spokesman.
A teacher at the Ferndale school noticed the gun about 11:45 a.m. when it fell out of a book bag in the cafeteria, police said.
The teacher took the youngster to the school office after he admitted bringing the weapon to school, police said. He was arrested and taken to the Northern District station, where police questioned him and his mother.
Jane Doyle, a spokeswoman for the school system, and Officer Bell said the boy probably did not bring the gun to harm anyone.
"We have no reason to believe there was any malicious intent involved," Ms. Doyle said. "He was not brandishing it around."
The boy's family recently moved to South Baltimore and had not informed Anne Arundel school officials of the change of address, which is why he was still attending Hilltop, Ms. Doyle said.
Under school system policy, disruptive behavior can lead to suspension or expulsion. The boy was suspended based on the belief of school officials that a weapon in the schools is disruptive, said Darren Burns, a staff attorney in the school superintendent's office.
The boy's mother and her boyfriend could be charged with keeping a gun within reach of a child, police said.
That offense, a misdemeanor, is punishable by a fine of $1,000.
The adults have not been charged, Officer Bell said yesterday.