Consequences unclear for student who brought bullets to school

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 | 8:20 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Columbia Public Schools administrators gave no details Wednesday on what the ramifications would be for an elementary school student who brought bullets to school Monday, but they say they are approaching the situation as a student discipline issue.

"I can't go into the details of the student," said Jack Jensen, assistant superintendent for elementary education. "A student at Grant Elementary did bring some bullets to school that he dropped on the playground."

Other children saw those bullets and informed adults, according to a letter sent home to families Tuesday from Grant Elementary Principal Beverly Borduin.

The school district then followed the appropriate procedure outlined in the Safe Schools Act, Jensen said.

"It dictates that we notify the authorities, which we would do regardless, and we did follow through on that," Jensen said.

In her letter, Borduin assured parents that "the necessary procedures, consequences and precautions" were being taken and invited them to contact her directly with any questions. The letter also praised the students who reported seeing the bullets.

"We don't want people to say that Grant isn't a safe place," Borduin said. "Grant is a very safe place."

Borduin turned the week's events into a learning experience when she addressed the issue with the student body on Wednesday by speaking to every classroom.

In addition to assuring students that they wouldn't have to worry, Borduin praised the children who told adults about finding the bullets and told the rest of the student body she knew each of them would have reported it had they been in that situation.

"That's something that is really important to the students; that's the teaching part of the lesson," Borduin said.

Borduin also discussed what items are appropriate to bring into a learning environment and what items are not, choosing to broaden the discussion by never referring specifically to bullets.

"The child brought something that was not about learning that day, and I want the children to think about what they can bring to school that is appropriate and safe," Borduin said.

The children present at the discussions were not the only ones to learn something from the situation.

"The child who made that mistake is learning a very hard lesson right now," Borduin said.



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