Police say teen brought loaded gun to Gibbs High School
7:47 PM, Mar 5, 2013
2:01 AM, Mar 6, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A loaded gun was found in a student's backpack Tuesday morning at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg.
A 16-year-old student faces numerous felony charges, along with a 17-year-old found with the teen after a school resource officer patrolling the ground around 7 a.m. saw something suspicious.
It is the second time since January, authorities found a gun on campus, and that's not sitting well with parents or students.
"Oh no, that is unacceptable. My children need to be safe, and my child has to be safe. That is unacceptable." said Kira Hernandez.
Hernandez had just left a meeting at Gibbs. The mother was contemplating her son's transfer to the school.
"No way, not anymore," said Hernandez.
She changed her mind quickly after learning about the two teens arrested . One of them, a 16-year-old is accused of carrying a loaded .25 caliber gun in his backpack.
Police said a school resource officer spotted the pair after investigating a break in at the concession stand. Inside, the officer said he found the teens smoking marijuana.
"I am scared, words can't explain it," said a 15-year-old student, who did not want to give her name.
The teenager was to frightened to show her face. She said the news makes her not want to go to Gibbs. She starts tomorrow.
"I just moved here, and this is my zone school, and I can't go to a different school," she said.
Officials tried to reassure parents and students with a phone call that said, in part, "The safety and security of your Gibbs High School student is our priority. We have zero tolerance for weapons or drugs at our school."
Spokesperson Melanie Marquez Parra said officials are evaluating security. "Situations like this are taken very very seriously. It is looked at and to understand how did this happen? Is there anything the school can do? I think it really is a matter of collaborating with law enforcement," said Marquez.
Police plan on adding an extra officer for now.
But for Hernandez, it's not enough. "I will find another (school), I will look for another one," Hernandez said.
The teens are in a juvenile facility. But police believe the state attorney will charge the 16-year-old as an adult. He has a lengthy criminal history.
So far this school year, four guns have been found at Pinellas schools.