Student, 12, brought gun to school, police allege
Published Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:00PM EDT
A 12-year-old Toronto boy has been charged after bringing a loaded handgun to school, police confirmed on Wednesday.
The gun, a loaded 38 Colt revolver, was found inside a backpack at Oakdale Middle School last Friday.
The school is located near Jane Street and Finch Avenue in the city's north end.
The gun was found after school officials broke up a fight between two students.
The 12-year-old, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, faces charges of possessing a prohibited firearm with ammunition, knowingly possessing an unauthorized firearm, careless storage of a firearm and assault.
Oakdale principal Craig Crone sent a letter to parents earlier this week confirming police were called in response to an "urgent situation," reminding students and parents that safety was of the utmost concern.
"Our staff regularly speaks to students about how to stay safe," the letter reads. "I know that you too will want to help make our school and community as safe as possible."
Though the first letter only warned of an "urgent situation," Crone told media he will speak with parents at a meeting where he will provide more details.
Crone defended his decision to provide only limited information in the initial letter sent home with students.
"I'm sending it home with my students, so I can't say I'm sending it home guaranteed that it is going to be delivered," he said. "Secondly, as well, with some of our parents, there is a large population of English-as-a-second language population. I didn't have time to get it translated into various languages."
The student in question received a suspension, the principal confirmed.
"The protocol from the board is possession of a weapon has a 20-day suspension, pending expulsion," said Crone.
Once police complete their investigation Crone said he then has five days to complete his own investigation and recommend whether an expulsion is warranted.
"Then I go forward with the suspension, pending expulsion, but that's premature at this point in time," he said.
The incident comes after Oakdale Middle School was placed under lockdown following an unrelated shooting last November.
In that incident, a 14-year-old girl was hit by a bullet as she was walking past the school.
After the shooting, the school underwent a safe schools audit, the principal said, and it is in process of having video cameras and better lighting installed.
Despite this incident, Crone said there are enough safety measures in place at Oakdale Middle School.
"If you look at the American model with metal detectors and so on, that's not the Canadian model of schooling," Crone said. "You'd have to talk to the police about the specifics of what goes on in the community, but I think it is sufficient."
Provincial Education Minister Laurel Broten said, as a mother, she found the news "very concerning," but she couldn't comment on the specifics of the case as police investigated.
"The TDSB has informed me that the school took appropriate action and responded according to protocols," Broten said.