Two elementary school students arrested for bringing gun to academy

Weapon found in bookbag at city's KIPP Ujima was not loaded

September 03, 2010|By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun

Two elementary school-age children were taken into juvenile custody Thursday morning after a handgun was found in a student's bookbag at a Northwest Baltimore school, according to city school officials.

City school police officers found the handgun at KIPP Ujima Village Academy, a public charter school serving grades five through eight, according to Michael Sarbanes, a city schools spokesman.

No one at the school was hurt, and the gun was not loaded, Sarbanes said.

Students reported seeing the gun early Thursday, and when school police conducted a search, they found the gun in a student's bookbag. It was later discovered that two students had brought the gun to school.

Sarbanes said the school system will not release the identities or ages of the children, but he did confirm that they were new students at the school.

KIPP Ujima is managed by an external operator, KIPP Baltimore.

Jason Botel, executive director for KIPP Baltimore, said in a statement that the school sent letters home to parents Thursday, and the school's administrators met with students Friday morning.

He said the school's leadership plans long-term suspensions for both students.

"Safety is KIPP's number one priority," the statement said. "We are grateful to the KIPP students who stepped forward and to the police for moving quickly to ensure KIPP Ujima could continue to operate safely."

The two students were being held at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, and the case was turned over to city police, Botel said.

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