Thursday Nov 17 2011
Police: Ammunition on campus an isolated incident
By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
Police are calling a 15-year-old Lincoln High School student bringing ammunition onto campus an “isolated incident.” But some parents approached by The News Messenger worry about the incident. On Oct. 14, the student was cited and released by Lincoln police on suspicion of bringing ammunition into a school zone, according to Lincoln Police Department’s Weekly Crime Summary. “The high school got some information that this kid had five live rounds in his backpack. The teacher went and got him and searched his backpack,” Lincoln Police Lt. David Ibarra said. “The officers came over and conducted an investigation, and the kid was cited and released to mom and dad.” Ibarra said this was the first time in his 21 years with the Lincoln Police Department that he heard of a student bringing ammunition “on any campus in Lincoln.” The News Messenger asked Ibarra why the student was cited and released, and not arrested. “The report does not indicate any threat to anyone. There were no firearms or fights involved,” Ibarra said. “It was just a kid that wasn’t thinking right and brought the stuff to school. There was a kid not realizing the severity of it, being a show-off and showing friends that they had some ammo.” Ammunition of any kind is not allowed on any campus, according to Ibarra, who cited California Penal Code section 12316c. “(Police were called) in case there were some issues involved in kids not getting along, threats being made or the possibility of a firearm being involved,” Ibarra said. “The officer decided it was an isolated situation, with no threats to anyone at the school, no firearm, no gang activity and no fights. I think this is an isolated, one-time incident.” On Nov. 2, another male juvenile was found with marijuana and a knife on school grounds, according to the Weekly Crime Summary for that week. “We do (take it serious) but we have to consider the circumstances and facts surrounding the situation,” Ibarra said when asked if police take a student possessing a knife on campus serious. “Our job is to look at each individual case and see if there’s any threat.” Lincoln High School principal Jay Berns would not comment for this story, asking The News Messenger to contact Western Placer Unified School District Superintendent Scott Leaman. Leaman also said this is the first time he heard of ammunition brought onto a campus. He would not discuss what type of disciplinary action was taken with the student, “because of student privacy issues,” but did say what type of action could be taken. Repercussions for bringing ammunition onto campus, Leaman said, would “depend on the discipline record of a student.” “If it’s a first-time incident, suspension is appropriate,” Leaman said. “If other acts have happened, it goes to expulsion.” Leaman said the incident is “extremely serious.” “Even without a weapon, ammunition in and of itself is not extremely volatile but could become volatile very quickly,” Leaman said. “It has gun powder and it has metal. If someone wanted to cause mischief, it definitely could be used to cause mischief.” The News Messenger asked how often a student is found with a gun or knife on campus. “Once again, I can’t think of a time a student had a gun,” Leaman said. “Knives are a thing that students at times either use at home or carry on them, and sometimes they accidentally end up at school.” Leaman said a student bringing ammunition on campus “is a very unusual incident.” The News Messenger asked parents picking up their children at Lincoln High School what they thought of the incident. “It’s not OK,” said Jolene Rodriguez, parent of a freshman and junior. “Just the fact that he has access to that, you don’t know what else he has access to.” Rodriguez was asked if the incident makes her worry for her children’s safety. “It worries me more that I didn’t hear about that,” Rodriguez said. “It puts you on alert.” Trisha Miller, mother of a freshman, exclaimed “not allowed” when told of the incident, and was surprised to hear about it. “I didn’t think anybody would bring ammunition on campus,” Miller said. “Thank God he didn’t have a weapon.” Miller said the incident doesn’t make her worry. “My daughter went here for four years, graduated last year and had a great experience,” Miller said. “I love this high school.” Tom Shell has two grandchildren at the school, and said his worrying about the knife and ammunition on campus “depends on what kind of knife and what kind of ammo.” “They shouldn’t be bringing it on campus,” Shell said. “It concerns me that they broke the rules.” Shell did say that “accidents happen,” and the student who brought the knife on campus “could hunt.” Adriana Mariscal, who has a child attending Lincoln High School, said she “didn’t know about any of that.” “Obviously, they are bringing weapons because something is going on amongst the kids,” Mariscal said. “They are protecting (themselves).” Mariscal said she plans to “sit our children down” to see if they know what troubles there are at the school. “I’m going to the principal to talk to him and see what’s going on,” Mariscal said.