Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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Utah student fired. Then his mom disarmed him.

Two parents noticed a shotgun and pistol were missing from their gun case yesterday morning. And their middle school-age son wasn’t his usual self.

So after their son left for school—Mueller Park Junior High in Bountiful City, Utah, about 10 miles north of Salt Lake City—they went to the school as fast as they could. Upon walking through the hallway to look for their son, they heard a gunshot.

The boy’s mother quickly got to the classroom where the gunshot had originated and managed to disarm her son before he could fire another round, the Washington Post reports. The Associated Press reported that another student in the classroom said the mother grabbed the gun, told her son to stop, and dragged him into the hallway.

The tragedy ended without a single personal injury, although there’s a large hole in the ceiling of that classroom. Bountiful City police officers arrived on the scene within a minute of a 911 call that was made after the shooter had been safely disarmed and detained, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.

The boy was charged with stealing the guns from the gun case and unlawfully bringing a gun into a school. Other charges may be filed at some point, as the investigation is ongoing.

Often teachers are the ones who disarm student gunmen

We don’t usually consider this side of a teacher’s job, but several teachers over the last two decades since the Columbine shooting have found themselves in the same room as a student intent on firing a gun or injuring students, teachers, or other school personnel.

Earlier this year in Tennessee, for example, a brave middle school counselor took steps that law enforcement officers might not even consider to disarm a student who was planning to fire his weapon at others at Sycamore Middle School in Ashland City.

This time, though, as happens so often, parents were the closest to the action. They “saw something” and “said something.” A few times this year, parents who noticed unusual behavior in their children have played key roles in averting tragedy in our schools.

In March, a parent stopped a 13-year-old boy from firing on a group of teens he was unhappy with at Howard Middle School in Ocala, Florida. The parent noticed he was trying to hide an assault rifle under his clothes as he left for school and stopped him, WFTV-TV (ABC affiliate) reports.

And in October in Nevada, an alleged mass shooting was stopped at Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas by a parent in Arizona, who overheard a Skype conversation her child was having with another student about the catastrophic plot. Several other students also came forward with information about the alleged shooter’s plans, which led police to the discovery of a “manifesto” at the student’s home.

CBS News quoted the police chief as saying the plot was uncovered “in part thanks to a parent being nosy, thanks to a parent paying attention, thanks to a parent who did not sit on information and brought that information forward.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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