EDITORIAL: For Some Reason, Juveniles Aren’t Getting the Message on Guns
How does an 11-year-old student bring a loaded gun into a school without his teacher or administrator knowing about it?
Let’s back up a bit: How did his mother not know he had a gun with him when he left home that morning?
Despite all the attention given to school shootings, school safety warnings and training sessions, the boy was still able to enter the Sullivan Middle School in Lowell on Thursday, Sept. 13 with a .22-caliber handgun and show it to friends.
What’s stunning is that during the course of the school day, not a single student told a teacher about the presence of a gun in the school?
How could this be?
Do students fear telling their teachers about possible trouble in their midst?
There’s a real problem in the Lowell Public Schools if all the messaging about school safety isn’t getting through to students.
This could have turned into a disaster.
Police located the gun only after it was accidentally discharged later that day at Rotary Park by one of the boy’s friends, a 14-year-old. Luckily, no one was hurt or killed by the stray bullet.
This story, sad to say, gets even more incredible. Because of criminal juvenile justice reform, the 11-year-old is spared from any legal consequence for his actions. The older boy will face a juvenile delinquency charge. Police have also spared the mother of the boy who took the gun to school, saying she didn’t know the gun was in the house.
So did the gun just materialize out of thin air?
Lowell police have not issued any update as to how the 11-year-old got possession of the gun. Under the new criminal justice reform law, all matters involving juveniles are confidential. But we’re sure police are pursuing the investigation, because someone has to be brought to justice.
This is the second incident in four months in which Lowell juveniles have illegally obtained a gun and brandished it in public. In June, police say a Belvidere teen and two friends stole a .38-caliber handgun from the locked car of a retired Lowell police officer. The gun, according to police, was secured in a knapsack-like carrying bag. The teens -- all 16 years old or younger -- are now facing a variety of larceny and firearms charges in Lawrence District Court. The case was moved there from Lowell because one of the suspects is related to a top Lowell court administrator.
But a mystery remains. Where is the gun? Police have not recovered the weapon, meaning there is potential danger lurking somewhere in the community or elsewhere.
These kids should know better, but either they don’t care or they’re ignorant. Of course, there’s also the possibility that the adults in their lives have failed them by not paying attention.