Maine Public School Student Lewiston Finds a Gun in His Backpack – NECN
Police and school officials in Lewiston, Maine, said they are actively investigating how a handgun ended up in an elementary school classroom on Thursday.
According to Lewiston Public Schools Superintendent Jake Langlais, the gun contained cartridges, but they were not in a part of the gun from which they could easily be fired or allow the gun to fire accidentally.
During a Friday interview with NECN/NBC 10 Boston, Langlais explained that the student was a young boy who “self-declared” the gun to his teacher after discovering a wallet in his purse. back at the end of the school day around the dismissal.
“The student did not know it was in his backpack,” he said, adding that the boy’s teacher immediately informed the school administration and the school resource officer who had taken possession of the bag and the pistol.
“My mind went instantly, isolate that and get it right away,” Langlais said, of his first thoughts after being contacted about the incident.
Langlais communicated to the parents what happened in a letter Thursday evening and has since had a conversation with the boy’s parents about the incident.
The boy had returned from school on Friday as the first parts of the investigation were being completed.
“During a conversation with the family, it turned out that there were several bags close to each other and that’s where this firearm was stored in a wallet, it was placed in the bad bag,” Langlais said, adding that the boy’s mother was “very honest and I felt bad,” based on his chat with her yesterday.
Due to the circumstances of the incident, Langlais said he is optimistic the boy will be able to return to class soon, rather than being punished for bringing the gun to class.
“I think he did the right thing,” Langlais said, explaining that “we just want to make sure there are no future opportunities for this to happen again.”
“I almost feel like maybe the student should be credited for doing the right thing because it could have turned out very differently,” he added, noting that the boy “would have could have said nothing, this student could have simply closed the bag and gone home.”
Asked about a big takeaway from the incident, Langlais replied that he thought “the most important thing for us is the relationship the teacher had with the student because the student felt safe enough to say ‘I have this thing and I shouldn’t. ‘”
“This student made the right decision because he could trust his teacher enough to do it, I think it’s critical that the relationships are in place, that we treat the children as well as possible…that goes a long way to deterring things that could go wrong,” he said.
As to whether or not charges will be brought, Lewiston police said their investigation remains open and the area prosecutor will make a final decision on the matter.