Local principal criticized for not calling police sooner after report of gun on campus

Waited 3 days after gun reported at school

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - There is new information on the backlash being felt against the principal of Feaster Charter School in Chula Vista after parents said he failed to take quick action about reports of a gun on campus.

It is a story 10News was first to break Thursday. Now, 10News has learned Principal Francisco Velasco actually found out about the 11-year-old boy bringing the .44 magnum to school last Friday, the same day it happened, but he did not call police until Monday.

10News anchor Itica Milanes called the school several times on Thursday and Friday to speak to Velasco but he never returned her calls. On Friday afternoon, he made his assistant principal Sarah Motsinger available.

She said they did the best they could, but some parents 10News spoke with said the principal did not act fast enough to call police or notify them about what had happened.

Larry White heard about the incident at his daughter's school Friday morning on the news. In a panic, he kept his 5-year-old daughter home from school until he got more information.

"I freaked out," said White. "Columbine, all the things that happened at schools … I never thought it would happen at my daughter's school. Obviously they had nothing set up. They do fire drills, earthquake drill but they had nothing set up to do proper notifications to the parents."

The assistant principal seemed to agree. When asked if there was anything she would do differently if it happened again, she replied, "We would probably look at our communication differently and create a protocol for this situation."

Chula Vista police told 10News the fifth grader brought the unloaded gun to school on Jan. 31 and showed it to a few friends, but those students never told anyone at school. They did go home and tell their parents, who in turn notified school administrators that night.

This is where it gets controversial. In a meeting Friday morning between Velasco, school resource officers and about two dozen parents, the principal admitted he learned about the gun at school last Friday evening and said he even went to the student's home. He said the child's relatives denied having any weapons in the house. White cannot believe that the principal took the family's word and never called police.

Milanes asked the assistant principal why Velasco did not call police that same night he found out.

"I can't speak to that," she said.

Parents also wanted to know why the principal did not notify them sooner. They received a letter sent home with students on Thursday, almost a week after the incident.

Motsinger said he wanted to wait until he had all the facts. Police told 10News that on Monday morning, the child admitted bringing the gun to school.

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