Highland student faces charges after bringing gun to school

Published 4:19 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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Parents upset about delayed notification 

By Abigail Roberts


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STANFORD – An elementary school student is facing charges and possible expulsion after bringing a firearm to school. 

According to School Resource Officer Chase Marcum with the Stanford Police Department, a Highland Elementary School student was allegedly in possession of a firearm at the school on Aug. 14. 

The incident was self-reported to school officials by the student’s caregivers about two weeks later, according to a statement released by the Lincoln County School District on Sept. 1. 

Police said they immediately began their investigation and three separate charges have been filed against the student in connection with the incident. 

“This was the first time we had heard anything about this and our initial investigation verifies that no one at the school knew anything about this until it was reported to school officials last night,” Marcum said in a statement.

“The student was not on campus today while we wrapped up our investigation and the school was deemed safe for normal operations today by SPD,” Marcum said. 

Lincoln County Superintendent Bruce Smith said he is thankful nothing happened at the school. 

“Ideally we would have known about this earlier, but we responded appropriately and quickly once the information was made known to us,” Smith said. “School safety is the responsibility of everyone. Parents are encouraged to speak with their children about the severity of this situation and the consequences of bringing weapons or other banned items on our school campuses, and most importantly if you see something, say something.”

“Staff and students are always encouraged to report unsafe situations using the state’s STOP tip-line https://bit.ly/3P1WUtJ, that can be found on our district website,” the press release states. 

Parents of Highland Elementary School students were quick to express concerns on the Lincoln County School District’s Facebook page, which is where a lot of parents were first informed of the incident. 

Kayla Snyder expressed concern about the way parents were notified of the incident. 

“You have a lot of really upset parents right now,” Snyder posted. “For one, this information was discovered last night but yet we are just now hearing about it after the school day is over. Second, most parents are finding out on social media or email. It seems like this would be a situation where each parent should get a phone call from an actual person and not a recording.” 

Snyder said she loves Highland Elementary and the staff but asks how parents are supposed to feel safe sending their children back to school. 

Another parent, Sarah Smith, asked why she wasn’t notified of the incident by phone. 

“I got a call to remind me it was a holiday weekend, but this wasn’t important enough to warrant a phone call? I had to learn about this on social media!”

Some parents questioned why it took so long for the school to find out about the incident. 

“It happened on Aug. 14 and we were informed on Sept. 1!!! That’s not ok!!!,” Jennifer Simpson posted. 

Other parents expressed concern about sending their students back to school after the Labor Day Holiday. 

The school district said the student is facing disciplinary actions from the school, along with the legal charges. Board policy 09.435 prohibits weapons on the campus of Lincoln County Schools and could lead to expulsion from the school district.