The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

October 26, 2013

Child suspended for bringing an unloaded BB gun to Ottumwa school

(Continued)

But what was the staff spending time on at James Thursday afternoon that kept them from calling parents and telling them there was a gun on campus?

“We conducted multiple student interviews, [including] with those who saw the BB gun and ... the [accused] student. We learned it had been brought earlier in the week, and the student had displayed it on the bus, and at one point, in school to multiple students. What we learned from the student who brought and students who saw it, was that it was an unloaded BB gun.”

This was not, Eidahl said, about hiding information; it was about gathering information “so we could communicate to our staff and our board, then to the community, very accurate and transparent information.”

That information, he acknowledged, was given to parents less than 24 hours after staff first heard initial whisperings of “a gun in school.”

In nearly all similar situations over the years, Eidahl said, staff hears from students very quickly. In fact, that’s how they usually find out about contraband, since kids obviously would hide such things from the adults at school.

For some reason, students were not comfortable sharing this incident with adults, which the superintendent said must be addressed by the district.

To see reporter Mark Newman’s Twitter feed, go to @couriermark

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