JERSEY CITY, NJ — An eighth grade student at James F. Murray Elementary P.S. 38 in Jersey City was found with a loaded gun in his backpack at around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. A student spotted the firearm and alerted a parent, who then notified school officials. The school was hosting a Career Day, which included police officers. Police moved quickly to identify and isolate the student and retrieve the gun.
The school was not placed on lockdown and robocalls about the incident did not go out until Wednesday afternoon.
"I’m very angry just like most the parents," said Jessica Hellinger, a mom of two children at the school. "Nobody was made aware. The teachers were not made aware of what happened until after dismissal."
She wasn't the only parent who was upset.
"They should have called the parents and we can pick up our kids," said another mother, Ivy Dulay.
Jersey City School Board President Sudhan Thomas said the focus was on diffusing the situation, but the board will review protocols for notifying parents in this situation.
"Obviously we are not happy about the way information is distributed," said Thomas. “We are committed to safety and school staff responded instantly when a concern was raised. We thank those who informed the school of what they had heard so that it could be addressed with as little disruption to the school day."
Students had a regularly scheduled early dismissal. Parents were back at the school Wednesday afternoon for a report card conference with teachers.
The student who was caught with the gun remains in custody. He has not been identified. School officials believe no threats were made.
"This child came in this year, September of this year, last school year. And joined from out of district," said Sudhan.
The 14-year-old juvenile has been charged with possession of a handgun by a minor, possession of a weapon inside an educational institution, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.