An incident Friday at Navigator School in Pinckney involved a parent volunteer bringing a concealed weapon into the school and then dropping it in front of students.
According to a letter from Supervisor Rick Todd that was sent out to families in the Pinckney Consolidated Schools district, a parent who is considered to be a “well-known, active and engaged volunteer during lunch/recess and who possesses a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) innocently forgot to leave his holstered gun in his vehicle prior to entering the building”.
According to the letter, while engaging with students in the gym, the holster fell off the parent’s belt and landed on the floor. After the parent placed the weapon back in his car, the school’s resource officer was contacted as well as Superintendent Todd and Navigator Principal Ruth Badalucco.
“Although this parent is feeling extremely remorseful, embarrassed and responsible for what has happened, it does not negate the seriousness of this and the potential for something more serious to occur. which we are extremely grateful did not,” said the letter. “Please know that we fully respect an individuals right to carry a gun given they are appropriately licensed, but please know that it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon into a school building, regardless if a CPL is obtained, unless very specific permissions are granted, which generally involves retired law enforcement personnel.”
Michigan law says CPL holders can carry a weapon onto school grounds as long as that gun stays visible, otherwise it is fully prohibited from being carried in a concealed, or hidden, way. However, a decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals, gives school districts the right to ban guns whether they are carried openly or concealed.
Todd said that because the incident was quickly handled and they knew there was no immediate threat, they decided not to put the school on lockdown, adding that the “students who were with this parent in the gym responded with great composure and responsibility and never felt they were in any danger.”
Todd said that despite knowing it was an accident, they followed through with the legal process as required by law and made a full police report which will be sent to the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office. In addition, the parent in question will not be permitted to volunteer at any PCS schools until further notice as they work through the legal process.
“Here in Pinckney Community schools we so value the inclusion of parents here at school as it is the most effective way to create a strong sense of trust, cooperation and transparency and we never want to lose this,” concluded the letter. “But at the same time, we need to ensure that we work together in doing our part to keep our students and staff safe at all times. We understand that incidents like this can be unsettling as it has been for us, but at the same time, we hope that the trust we have built in communicating can help reassure that we do have your student’s best interest at heart at all times.”
Todd told GIGO News late Friday that they called all the parents whose students witnessed the incident in the gym and they all were understanding and appreciative of the communication and follow up.
“The response to my letter has been extremely minimal (4 emails), with some being supportive of the parent involved as he is well known throughout the school and very much well respected and liked by our students,” he said. “Others are obviously concerned, but are supportive and appreciative of the district in how we both responded and communicated.”
State law says the volunteer’s gun is subject to immediate seizure with a first offense providing for a $500 fine and a six-month CPL permit suspension.