The student who brought a firearm to Cunningham Elementary School in Turlock did not know it was in her backpack, police said Friday.
The incident occurred just before 1 p.m. Tuesday at the school on West Linwood Avenue. Few details were released at the time, only that a student was found with a weapon in a backpack.
Rumors flowed following the incident about how the incident was handled by the school district and what the student’s intentions were.
On Friday, Turlock Police Sgt. Russ Holeman said the student was a girl and that there was no malicious intent.
“There was no ill intent on the (part of the) student,” he said. “We strongly believe that she was unaware that it was in her backpack when she came to school and came across it when she was in class.”
He said one of the girl’s parents used her backpack to store the loaded semiautomatic firearm on a trip out of town and forgot that it was in there when she went to school on Tuesday.
Turlock police have forwarded the case the the District Attorney’s Office for review. Holeman said an adult can be held criminally liable for storing a weapon in a place children can access.
Marie Russell, spokeswoman for the Turlock Unified School District would not say whether the student will face disciplinary action but said in an email, "In TUSD we adhere to the California Ed Code and our own District guidelines to administer school discipline. Our practice is to hold all stakeholders accountable for their actions."
Superintendent Dana Salles Trevethan released a statement on the district’s website regarding concern about a delay between the time information was received about a weapon being on campus and when it was confiscated.
The statement reads in part, “TUSD is reviewing all safety/security procedures and protocols with staff to ensure proactive and effective intervention occurs in situations where allegations implicating student safety arise.”
A School Messenger notification was sent and a hard copy letter was sent home with students with information about the incident, Russell said.