‘We take it very seriously’: District responds to BB gun found in Madison middle school

The Madison Metropolitan School District is encouraging parents and students to speak up about potential threats as it reviews its response to a BB gun found at Jefferson Middle School Wednesday.

A 13-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly shooting two female students with a BB gun, according to police. Police said the suspect used a BB gun to shoot on the bus and out the window Tuesday afternoon, striking a 13-year-old in the arm and a 14-year-old in the hand as they exited at bus stops.

“It’s a big deal. Do not bring any kind of weapon-looking anything to school,” MMSD interim superintendent Dr. Jane Belmore said. “Our school safety is really important to us. We take it very seriously.”

Police arrested another 13-year-old boy who they said brought the BB gun into school Wednesday. Belmore said the school was put on a hold for about 10 minutes while the police located the gun in a backpack inside a locker.

“The police were already there. It was kind of at that point in time, the children said something,” Belmore said. “That was an example of students stepping up and saying something that was really important.”

The boys appeared in juvenile court Thursday afternoon. The judge released them to their mothers’ custody on the conditions they stay away from each other, the victims and weapons – real or facsimile.

“I would want parents to keep lines of communication open with kids,” Belmore said. “(Ask)
What happened at school today? Is there anything that concerned you?'”

In this incident, Belmore said she believes staff members did everything they should have in line with safety procedures. Some parents told News 3 Now they were concerned about the speed of information.

“(I was) not very impressed with the school’s response time to this issue,” mother Jennifer Rose said Wednesday. “Just have a quicker response if accidents like this happen. Notify parents. Like I said, I personally didn’t know anything was happening.”

An initial note went out to parents about 8 p.m. Tuesday about a student possibly hit by a pellet gun, and another with more information about the incident Wednesday afternoon. Belmore said they want to make sure they have the right information.

“We worked very closely with the school and the families and with our police department, so even though it’s hard to describe to the public what’s going on at the moment it happens, we felt very comfortable we were in good shape there,” she said, adding that the district debriefs after such incidents.

“We do quite an extensive look at every situation that happens. There are differences in all of them, so we try learn from every one of them,” Belmore said. “We’re all in this together, wanting schools to be as safe as they can possibly be.”

Belmore encourages any parents with concerns to contact the district.

According to the district, bringing any type of gun, including a BB gun, into school results in a mandatory suspension and recommendation for expulsion.

More information on the district’s safety procedures can be found here on its website.

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