A 14-year-old De Anza High student was found in possession of a gun at school on Friday, police said.
A Richmond Police Department school resource officer notified staff on Thursday that he had received information that the student may be in possession of a loaded gun at school. School was already out of session for the day, so on Friday school staff were advised to be on alert and watch for the student.
During school on Friday, the school resource officer learned that the student had walked out of his class while class was in session and informed school staff. Staff searched for him and found him sitting in a chair near the classroom.
“He had his backpack on his lap while a school administrator walked past and looked into the unzipped bag,” Richmond police spokesman Lt. Felix Tan said. “The administrator saw the barrel of a gun and quickly snatched the backpack off of the student’s lap and brought him to the principal’s office. The student was arrested and the gun (.357 revolver) was recovered by the officer.”
The arrest occurred amid controversy over the West Contra Costa Unified District’s Board of Education apparent plan to reduce or eliminate funding for the placement of school resource officers in local schools.
Last week, the board approved a resolution stating that “funding for law enforcement should be re-directed towards the reduction of class sizes and total class loads to support restorative justice practices.” That vote has concerned those who believe SROs are important in maintaining a safe learning environment on school campuses.
“We are proud of our SRO officers’ working relationship within each of the six assigned schools,” Tan said. “This is yet another great example of the importance of having the SROs in schools for everyone’s safety, along with their ability to mentor and coach the students.”