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If a child brings a gun to school, is it the parent’s fault? Should the parents be held responsible?

Duval School Board member Scott Shine believes so. On Friday he said that the blame is usually placed on the wrong person in these situations. He wants officials to not only look at the child who brought the gun to school, but also at the adults in that child’s life.

Shine said, “These are not kids who went out looking for a gun to do something,” he continued,  “These are kids who found a gun or it came to them. … People are all worked up about guns in schools but, quite frankly, parents are just leaving their guns laying around.”

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Florida Times Union reports:

At least 12 times in the past school year, Duval students were caught with guns at school and half those weapons had belonged to a parent, a relative or, in one case, a girlfriend’s parent, district data show.

The latest incident didn’t make that list of firearm arrests.

It involved a first-grader at Neptune Beach who last month brought a gun magazine loaded with bullets to school. The official school letter to parents called it a “prohibited” item.

That was not enough for Celeste Dodrill, with two children attending that suburban elementary school. She began contacting school officials and her school board representative, Scott Shine, to find out what the district can or should do to remind parents to lock away their guns and their ammunition.

The schools can start, she said, by being more forthcoming when guns are found at schools and not calling them “prohibited items,” Dodrill said.

“Typically schools do that because they don’t want people to be hysterical, but people should be hysterical,” she said.

“Their hair should be on fire. This is outrageous. It all boils down to kids getting guns from their homes. … It’s so easy to fix.”

In at least three of the gun arrest cases in Duval schools, children or teens brought their parents’ weapons from home.

Add to that last August, when a Mandarin High 18-year-old brought his girlfriend’s father’s gun to school; and last February, when a 13-year old Chaffee Trail Elementary student took his grandmother’s semi-automatic to school; and last April, when a 14-year-old Westview K-8 student took a gun belonging to his father’s friend to school.

“What if we can get parents to keep their guns locked up? Half the guns would be gone from schools. That’s an opportunity to me,” Shine said.

Shine sits in on many Duval School Board expulsion hearings, he said, but rarely do parents admit they left a gun unsecured. Most parents are silent about how their child accessed their gun.

Shine added, “I’m encouraging the district (police) to start charging the parents,” he continued,  “They can file a report and ask (the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office) to make the charge.”

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