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MISSION VIEJO : Expulsion Urged for Boy With Handgun

An elementary school principal has recommended that a sixth-grade student who brought a handgun on campus this week be expelled.

On Tuesday, the 11-year-old boy was suspended for five days, and Viejo Elementary School Principal Joel Drew wants to extend the suspension until an expulsion hearing can be scheduled before the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees.

District officials said Feb. 22 is the earliest date the hearing could be held.

The boy had left campus shortly after lunch Monday and returned after classes were let out for the day, Drew said. The youth rode a bicycle to the front yard of a home across the street from Viejo Elementary School, where several schoolmates were gathered.

“He was basically showing it off,” Drew said.

Children present said the .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol was unloaded, but that the boy also showed them a full ammunition clip. According to Drew, the children said the sixth-grader then rode his bicycle through the school parking lot and playground.

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Later that evening, one of the students told parents, who called the Sheriff’s Department. A deputy went to the boy’s house and persuaded the child to lead him to the gun, which had been left behind a tree on a walkway just outside the campus. The weapon was loaded when found by the deputy.

Lt. Randy Blair said the child had taken the gun without his parents’ knowledge. Blair would not specify the location of the gun inside the house, but said he was satisfied that it was kept in a secure place and that no charges would be filed against the boy’s parents.

In a letter sent Thursday to all parents of Viejo Elementary School students, Drew cited district policies mandating expulsion for bringing weapons on school grounds.

“Our board policy is very clear regarding the presence of weapons on campus,” Drew said. “It was a very dangerous situation. We’re very blessed that nothing severe happened and nobody was injured.”


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