By Wendy Burton
No charges will be filed against a student who had a loaded gun in his truck at Fort Gibson High School on Thursday, said the district attorney.
“We have reviewed the facts surrounding the incident and we do not believe a crime was committed,” said Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore. “It is our understanding that, although there was a gun in the vehicle, it was without the knowledge of the student, and we don’t have sufficient evidence to file a charge stating that student knew he was taking a gun to school in his car that day.”
Fort Gibson Superintendent Derald Glover said he cannot speak about a specific student. However, the school policy follows state law, he said, in that a student in possession of a gun on campus can be suspended up to a year.
The school has the authority to use its judgment to reduce that suspension, Glover said.
“We are waiting until we get all the information from the authorities before we make any decisions,” he said.
Fort Gibson Police Chief Clint Vernon said he is sure there was no malice or intent on the part of the student.
Vernon told the Phoenix on Thursday the student had been arrested.
He said Friday the student was not arrested but had been allowed to go home with his parents.
Vernon said he found out Friday there is a policy in Fort Gibson that states juveniles can be turned over to their parents at the officers’ discretion.
“My officer did the right thing and followed the policy. But that policy is simply wrong,” said Vernon, who became chief in July.
He has asked the Fort Gibson Board of Trustees to approve a new policy at its 6 p.m. Monday regular meeting at Fort Gibson Town Hall.
“It basically says if we determine a law has been broken and we arrest a juvenile at that time, they will be taken to the juvenile detention center. That does not apply to traffic violations,” Vernon said. “Then, a judge will decide whether or not to release them. Our job is to follow the law.”
Moore said he thinks the situation was handled well.
“Everything went like clockwork. They called the parent and removed the student from campus yesterday, then sent my office a report,” Moore said. “I praise the school for their actions — having the dogs there to look for such things especially. This school is very proactive in this area — especially in the climate we live in nowadays, this is exactly what should have happened. It’s turned out now for the best.”
Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.