POSTED: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 5:43pm
MONROE, LA (KTVE-NBC) — Principal Marquette Marshall says he was not expecting a Monday morning like this.
"I always stand on duty in the front when I'm here and at 7:50 in the morning, to confiscate a weapon is always a surprise anytime," he said.
Monroe police say an eight-year old male student at Madison James Foster Elementary School was found with a loaded handgun in his book bag just after 8 a.m.
Police say another student tipped off a teacher.
"An alert staff member saw something strange about his backpack," said Marshall. "And immediately confiscated it and brought it to me."
What they confiscated was a .22 caliber pistol in the child's backpack.
"We followed Monroe City Schools protocol, contacted police department and the young man's parents, and everything was safe from that point," said Marshall.
Monroe police say they then secured the office, the gun, and the student. Monroe police and school officials at the elementary school say the child was not intending to harm anyone, but was trying to trade the gun in for a video game.
"Eight-year old logic, 'I want this video game and this is the trade I got to make,'" said Sgt. Mark Johnson with Monroe Police.
School officials say the student will be expelled following district policy and has been returned to his parents. Police added that the gun did not contain an obliterated serial number or other illegal alterations.
"There was not this immediate attack upon a school," said Johnson. "It was some very poor choices made by an eight-year old bringing something to school he shouldn't."
Meanwhile, detectives are still looking into more details.
"Where the gun came from, how the child got a hold of it," said Johnson.
A report will be forwarded to the District Attorney's office, where Sgt. Mark Johnson says he hopes the office can offer programs and services to the child so that he can find the help he needs.
"This is an eight-year old child, we want this child to be able to grow up and be productive," he said. "Now's the time to try and fix whatever behavior led to this thing."
Monroe police say they commend the actions taken by the school.
"If you see something say something," said Johnson. "Those kids at that school, there's obviously a very good message being put out. The kid said something to the teacher, the teacher didn't blow it off, immediately responded, immediately looked into this thing and we have a fantastic result out of it."
Principal Marshall advises anyone in a similar situation to stay calm.
"In situations like that, if you overreact to that situation, it will cause mass hysteria," he said. "If you under-react, things will not be taken care of in a proper manner so you have to stay even and calm."
Principal Marshall says school will continue as normal this week. There are no cancellations of any kind.