MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- A gun discharged inside a 5-year-old kindergartener’s backpack at a Tennessee elementary school cafeteria on Thursday, though no one was hurt, officials said.
A statement from the Shelby County school district said the gun went off inside a kindergarten student’s backpack as students were waiting for the opening bell in the cafeteria of Westside Elementary School. There were no injuries. School staffers immediately took control of the backpack.
School security officers and the Memphis Police Department responded to the incident, the district said. The child was detained and was still being questioned by officers Thursday afternoon, with the child’s mother present. Investigators were trying to determine how the gun ended up in the backpack, police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said.
Students were kept safe and calm while the matter was handled, the district said.
There was no evidence of harmful intent, the school district said.
“However, weapons of any kind are prohibited on campuses, and this student will be disciplined in accordance with the state’s zero tolerance policy,” the statement said.
The zero-tolerance policy calls for “certain, swift and reasoned punishment” for students who bring drugs or guns to school. It could include suspension or expulsion.
Some parents went to the school to check on their children after hearing about what happened from media reports. The school sent a letter to parents to inform them of the situation and also called them in the afternoon with an update, district spokeswoman Stefani Everson said.
The district also said its ParentLink communication system, which is used to notify parents of school-wide emergency situations, was not used because it was “an isolated and controlled situation that occurred before the school day started and did not involve any individual or school-wide threat,” Everson wrote in an email.