TOOELE, Utah, Nov. 3, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A 12-year-old girl is facing misdemeanor charges after police say she brought a gun to a Tooele middle school for several days, saying she needed it “for protection.”
Tooele City Police Department Lt. Jeremy Hansen told Gephardt Daily that Monday morning at approximately 8:45 a.m., the principal of Clarke N. Johnsen Junior High School, 2152 N. 400 West, called one of the police department’s school resource officers and asked him to come down to the school. The principal had just removed a handgun from a female student, Hansen said.
The resource officer went to the school and learned from the principal that the girl was seen with the handgun walking home from school Thursday. There was no school Friday.
The female student that saw the girl with the handgun went home and told her mother about it, Hansen said. The mother of the girl that reported the gun came to the school Monday morning and the parents of the student that had the handgun, as well the girl herself, were called into the principal’s office.
The girl then told the principal that she still had the gun in her backpack. Police responded to the school, and the school resource officer booked the gun into evidence, Hansen said. An investigation into the incident was then begun.
“The girl said she needed it for protection but would not elaborate why,” Hansen said. “We’ve had no previous involvement with this girl whatsoever. We don’t think she had any intent to harm anybody at the school. Obviously she just handed it over to the principal so she was cooperative.”
The student said she took the gun from her parents without them knowing. Her mother said the girl must have taken the gun from the top of her closet because that is where she kept it. The gun was loaded, Hansen said.
Charges against the girl have been referred to juvenile court; she is facing a charge of possession of a dangerous weapon on or around school premises, a class A misdemeanor, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor, a class B misdemeanor.
Hansen said officials are encouraging parents to always lock up their firearms and make sure they are secure; he said the police department has “hundreds” of gun locks which are available to parents. Parents are also encouraged to speak to their children about the consequences of bringing weapons onto school grounds and that they not only will they likely face criminal charges but administrative action by the school.