Principal defends actions of reporting student with gun

200+ parents attend meetings with principal

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The principal of Feaster Charter Elementary School is defending his actions of how he reported a student with a gun on campus.

About 200 parents met with Principal Francisco Velasco on Tuesday regarding an incident where an 11-year-old student brought a gun to school on Jan. 31.

Parents were angry that police were not notified until three days later and that no one told them until Feb. 6, nearly a week after it happened.

"For a school not to have something in place is very unnerving," parent Larry White told 10News, who says he kept his 5-year-old daughter home from school when he found out. "I asked her, 'Did you hear about what happened?' She said, 'Yes, a boy brought a gun to school.'"

10News was told the student brought a 44 magnum handgun and showed it off to friends. That night, one of those friends told his parents.

When discussing the morning meeting at the school, White said, "The school resource office and the principal stated that there were no policies in place … The first 15 minutes was pretty much he was defending himself and his actions."

White is referring to Velasco, who 10News was told learned of the incident the same night the boy brought the gun to school.

"I explained to him, it wasn't his job to investigate," White said referring to when he spoke with the principal last week. "His immediate response should have been contacting the Chula Vista Police Department immediately, not waiting for the child to come back to the school and deal with that issue. It's a gun."

10News contacted the Chula Vista Elementary School District and was given this written statement:

"The facts in this case are very different from the fact sets in other districts that recently experienced allegations of a student bringing an unloaded weapon to school or threatening violence. The child in this matter was not arrested. At no point was anyone threatened or harmed. Had any one of these facts occurred differently—i.e. had there been a threat, had there been an arrest, had a staff member actually seen the weapon on campus, had the weapon been loaded—an entirely different response would have resulted. For example, had an adult seen the weapon on campus, it would have triggered a lockdown. In turn, that would trigger an automated phone message alerting parents, etc.

All of the above clouds the obvious. The lesson learned here is the importance of responsible gun ownership. More education needs to be done to educate the public about keeping weapons out of the hands of children. In this case, we are very thankful that no one was harmed, that the gun was not loaded. Our focus now is on the child, on getting him the help needed, and ensuring that all students are safe."

"The principal and everyone states it's a learning experience, and I agree," added White. "But we should never be at this point. We had a learning experience at Columbine."

10News asked Chula Vista Police Department Capt. Lon Turner why the 11-year-old boy was not arrested. He said that an investigation is now underway. 

The findings will be submitted to the District Attorney's Office so that the juvenile justice process can take place. 10News also asked police where the weapon is. They said it is now in their possession. 

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