CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — School safety is on the minds of parents across the Coastal Bend as yet another gun was found on a school campus Monday.
So far this school year, which began in early August, there have been at least five incidents involving guns on schools campuses.
The most recent happened Monday, Sept. 12. A student at Hamlin Middle School as found with an unloaded gun on campus. A note about the incident was sent home to parents.
Last week, a student was found with a gun at Calallen High School, prompting a lockdown and huge police response to the school.
A gun was found on a sidewalk by a student near WC Andrews Elementary in Gregory-Portland ISD on Sept. 7.
At JFK Elementary in West Oso ISD, a parent was arrested after a 4-year-old child brought a loaded gun to school in their backpack on Aug. 31.
RELATED: Superintendent brings call to action after 4-year-old was found with loaded handgun at JFK Elementary Wednesday
Also in August, two students at Moody High School were arrested for having a pistol and drugs on campus.
Then today, Sept. 13, several police officers responded to Ray High School after a witness mistook a toy gun for a dangerous weapon.
A student was showing the toy gun to friends and the witness immediately called police. All parties involved were immediately detained and an investigation revealed the gun was not real.
The student was released after police realized no crime was committed, Warnke said. Discipline will now be up to the school.
So, why are there so many stories about students bringing guns to school this year? One local leader said it may be a case of more people paying attention and reporting those incidents right away.
"I think we've seen more of a show-and-tell kind of thing. Just the age. I mean, we're talking one incident, not in our district, was a kindergartner, and a first grader. And I don't think they even understand the full ramifications of what they're doing," Corpus Christi ISD Police Chief Kirby Warnke said. "They see something they think is cool, they want to show their friend. And so that, I think, is more of what we've been dealing with than anything nefarious."
Nueces County Judge Tim McCoy said the problem affects everyone on the campus.
"It's more of a problem than just, 'hey, we have somebody in possession of a weapon,'" McCoy said. "When a gun is taken to school, you not only have someone that shouldn't have a weapon, because if you're under 18 you're prohibited to own a weapon. You also have the issue of the safety of all the other children."
Warnke and McCoy said parents and guardians who own guns have not only the responsibility of making sure guns are kept from children, but also the responsibility of talking to their kids about the dangers of guns.
Making sure the child has no lingering mental health issues after an incident like this is also important, McCoy said.
"When I get somebody that's making a threat, or what we have available to us, is when we get a threat or even a firearm at school is a psychological evaluation. You have the kid evaluated to make sure there aren't any mental issues and to try to figure out why they would do something like that," McCoy said. "And you know a psychological evaluation can take awhile. You may be sitting in detention a few weeks in order for it to get done."
Both leaders advocate vigilance on the part of law enforcement, parents or guardians, school officials and even fellow students to help prevent tragedy.
More from 3News on KIIITV.com:
- Student brought gun to Hamlin Middle School, officials say
- Gun confiscated from student at Calallen High School
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- Corpus Christi resident was on vacation in London when news broke of Queen Elizabeth II's death
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