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Student arrested for taking loaded gun to school

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Friend alerted authorities

By Tom Wilmoth

    A 12-year-old student at Forest Middle School has been arrested for taking a loaded handgun to school.
    Last Wednesday morning, Feb. 6, a Bedford County Sheriff’s School Resource Officer received a complaint from an assistant principal at Forest Middle School.
    The principal advised the SRO that he had received information from a fellow student of a possible gun being on school property. After receiving the information, the principal reported that he checked a locker and found a small caliber hand gun.
    The gun was secured by the SRO and the student identified. The student was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm on school property. He was sent  to the Lynchburg Juvenile Detention Center.
    Authorities praised the efforts of the student who reported the gun to school administrators.
    Last Friday in Bedford Circuit Court a bond hearing appeal was heard before Judge James Updike. The appeal was from a previous ruling during a hearing in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
    At the request of defense council, and without objection from the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, the hearing was closed to everyone but the attorneys and family of the defendant because of the student’s age.
    No report of what occurred during the hearing will be made public.
    Having a gun on school property is a felony with a possible sentence of one to five years for an adult. However, because of the student’s age, authorities say that dealing with the child and his rehabilitation helps determine what type of sentence is imposed if the student is found guilty.
    Following the incident, the school offered this initial statement sent out to parents of the school:
    “During the late morning hours a student provided information to an assistant principal that a classmate may be in possession of a gun.  The school, in cooperation with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, began an immediate investigation and a small caliber handgun was confiscated from a locker.  Our school administration and the County Sheriff’s Office questioned the student. The student was removed from school and will be charged by the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office.
    “As with all matters of student safety, we have taken this very seriously and have acted accordingly, utilizing both school system disciplinary recourse and the juvenile justice system.   We appreciate the actions of our students who provided information that allowed for a quick response to this situation.”