Duval school board member wants parents held accountable for weapons brought to school

Duval Public Schools is looking for solutions to stop weapons from entering schools.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -  A Duval County Public School Board member has placed renewed scrutiny on how the district handles guns after a teacher found a magazine loaded with bullets at the end of the school year at Neptune Beach Elementary.

When Celeste Dodrill found a letter in her son's bookbag only saying a “prohibited item” has been found, she wanted to know more.

"I wasn't sure what it meant,” Dodrill said. “I asked my husband and we looked up the Code of Conduct at all the things that this could be."

She didn't know specifically because there are a number of prohibited items, like BB guns and over the counter drugs listed in the district’s Code of Conduct.

“I don't think they were transparent about it at all,” she said.

In this case, the student brought a gun magazine loaded with bullets, which is against the school's rules, but not against the law.

"Obviously, you don't want children bringing bullets let alone you know any type of weapon or anything that goes along with that," Dodrill said. "I mean it's defiantly concerning."

Dodrill's school board representative, Scott Shine, wants to take an additional step.

"We need to hold adults accountable for these things when they happen,” Shine said.

Shine, who is a firearm safety instructor, wants the state attorney to press charges against parents if their children bring a gun to school.

"We have problems that come into the school and we deal with it there," Shine said. "We have to start looking at dealing with those problems before they get there."

At the end of the school year, Shine tallied up all of the firearms found on campus last school year. He says over half the students got the gun from a family member, thus the call for increased communication to parents and possible action against them.

He says ultimately, he hopes the threat of a criminal charge will encourage parents to lock up their firearms, keeping them out of the hands of students and out of schools.

"We understand out messaging must inform and also equip parents with the tools needed to take necessary precautions," a Duval School’s spokesperson told First Coast News via email.

The district says after our reporting, they're planning to be more specific in their communication with parents.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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