TOPEKA (KSNT) – A student was found with a handgun in a backpack at Indian Hills Elementary School in Topeka Monday. The weapon was taken without incident from the child, and the incident is now being investigated by the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office.
The Incident, according to a e-mail to parents by school Principal Jim McDaniel, happened at the school Monday morning when a weapon was found in the backpack of a first grader as students arrived at schools.
A teacher noticed the weapon and acted immediately, contacting the school’s administration which then contacted the Sheriff’s department.
“There is no evidence that the student ever took the weapon out of the backpack or showed it to other students,” stated McDaniel in the statement to parents. “The backpack was confiscated immediately at the start of school. The student did not ride a bus to school.”
In a statement later in the day, Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Todd Stallbaumer stated “…the handgun, which was loaded..” was reported by the student to school officials. “At no time did the student display the weapon to anyone other than to self report to school officials.
Stallbaumer says it is still unclear how the student came in possession of the handgun, “..but it was brought from the student’s home.”
He said at this point no criminal charges have been filed, but the matter is still under investigation by the Sheriff’s office.
The district in its e-mail noted they responded quickly on learning of the incident, notified law enforcement immediately, and is “committed to doing everything we can to keep our students and staff safe.”
The district referred all questions to the Shawnee County Sheriff’s office.
Here’s the full text of Principal McDaniel’s statement to the parents of students at Indian Hills Elementary School:
“Parents, In Auburn-Washburn we are committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment. We want to share some information about an incident that took place at Indian Hills this morning. A weapon was found in the backpack of a first grader as students arrived at school. A teacher noticed the weapon in the backpack and responded immediately. Law enforcement was contacted and the students’ parents were notified. There is no evidence that the student ever took the weapon out of the backpack or showed it to other students. The backpack was confiscated immediately at the start of school. The student did not ride a bus to school. We understand that this information can be very unsettling to parents. We have responded swiftly and are working closely with law enforcement to determine how this came about. While the child involved was very young, the consequences for this action will be commensurate with the severity of the situation. Again, we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students and staff safe. Jim McDaniel Principal Indian Hills Elementary School”