Sequatchie County High freshman charged, expelled after gun found

Sequatchie County High freshman charged, expelled after gun found

January 8th, 2019 by Ben Benton in Breaking News

A Sequatchie County (Tennessee) High School freshman boy was charged Monday after being found in possession of a gun on school property.

The boy, a juvenile who was not identified, allegedly had an unloaded .380-caliber Taurus semi-automatic pistol, according to a news release posted on the Sequatchie County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

No ammunition for the weapon was found during the investigation.

The school system was notified and school officials, in turn, notified the school resource officer on duty who contacted detectives at the sheriff's office, authorities said.

After several interviews, the boy was charged with carrying a weapon on school property, authorities said.

Sequatchie County Director of Schools Pete Swafford said Tuesday that the boy has been expelled from school for 365 days under the school system's zero-tolerance policy regarding guns.

"It was empty, but it's still a gun," Swafford said.

Swafford said he wasn't aware of the boy having any other recent problems at school. He also said he didn't know why the boy brought the gun to school in the first place.

The case now will become a juvenile matter.

Some people posted comments on the sheriff's office Facebook page about the need for metal detectors at the school.

Swafford said metal detectors have been discussed over the years and recently, though the topic was not broached at Monday's Sequatchie County Board of Education meeting. An announcement was made at the meeting Monday night about the gun incident, he said, but there was no immediate discussion on increasing security.

Over the years, the school system has employed other security measures, including walls in the foyer of the high school to restrict access to the interior of the building and other steps to make other entries secure, Swafford said. And anyone entering the office at the school must surrender their driver license and undergo a quick background check, he said.

"We're always concerned about student safety," he said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.