Parents frustrated with school after gun found in backpack

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Some parents said they are pulling their kids from Wedgewood Elementary School after hearing a student showed up with a gun on Monday.

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office arrested a fifth grader in the incident but some mothers said the way the school system handled the situation left them feeling furious and powerless.

The Wedgewood Elementary School campus was quiet on Tuesday morning. Parents, Melanie Rodgers and another mother who did not want to be identified, said it usually is when class is in session. But, they said, on Monday school administrators kept quiet about an unloaded .45 caliber handgun being found inside of a 12 year old student's booksack.

"I received a channel 9 news update about a gun at Wedgewood Elementary and I was just really shocked because I didn't hear anything. They didn't send a message out to let parents know what was going on," Rodgers said.

"I was very appalled. I was more scared than anything because I had to find out via my news app on my phone," another mother said.

Both said when they called the school for an explanation they got the runaround.

"I can't help you with anything. I can't even patch you through to who you need to talk to because the phone lines were so backed up with parents calling."

"They took the right for me to be notified what's going on with my child at one o'clock instead of telling me at 4:30 p.m.," Rodgers said.

A spokesman for the East Baton Rouge School System said a "robo call" went out to parents at 5 p.m. He said it didn't go out earlier in the afternoon because parents tend to miss messages that are sent out during the work day. He added, because the schools reinforce the message to report suspicious activity, the incident was handled immediately.

"When I got the call it was like six o'clock because they had a bunch of parents call you and want to know why they were not informed. That's not right," Rodgers said.

"They dumbed down the situation. Basically, they said it was a minor situation at school. They had it under control. Everything was okay," another mother said.

Both mothers said, regardless their sons won't be returning to Wedgewood Elementary.

"I don't feel comfortable with letting my son go back," Rodgers said.

"I just have to put it in God's hands, send him somewhere else and hope that he's protected and that this doesn't happen again," another mother said.

Investigators said the 12 year old is in juvenile detention.

The spokesman for EBR Schools said the school system will take disciplinary action but would not elaborate.

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