Mother of middle schooler: 'My son is not a bad child'
The mother of a middle-schooler who was recently suspended for bringing gun ammunition to school said her son is not a bad child and has learned from his mistake.
The 12-year-old told his mother, Kristy Sorrells, that he found three bullets and put them in his pocket, later taking them with him Tuesday to his classes at Waynesville Middle School.
"We have no clue where he got them from," Sorrells said of the bullets, adding that her family doesn't own guns.
Bill Nolte, associate school superintendent, said multiple students saw the bullets and one child reported that there was a gun, resulting in a campus-wide lockdown.
The Waynesville Police Department, assisted by other law enforcement officers in the area, rushed to the school to conduct a search and ensure the safety of students and staff.After 90 minutes of locked classrooms, school authorities were confident the boy was only in possession of bullets.
In the end, the boy was suspended and another student, who ended up in possession of one of the bullets, was also disciplined.
At the time, Sorrells said her son, "Didn't understand the severity of it."
She said he now understands what he did was wrong, but she feels like the constant television news coverage has cast a negative light on her son.
"I just want everybody to know that my son is not a troubled child. I don't want people judging him because of one accident," she said. "A child is going to be a child. How else are they going to learn if they don't make mistakes?"
Sorrells believes her son wasn't thinking clearly that day because he had not taken his medication for ADHD and bipolar disorder, for which he also receives therapy. She said he was suspended one other time for one day because he accidentally brought a knife to school, but she thinks this suspension may have been too harsh.
"I feel the punishment they gave him was too severe because he had no intention of harming anyone," Sorrells said.
Nolte said that any time a principal takes disciplinary action, several mitigating and aggravating factors are taken into consideration, including the impact a student's actions had on others and the school as a whole.
"There was a pretty significant impact on the campus," he said, adding that the lockdown caused parents to worry about their children, testing was disrupted and law enforcement had to come to the school.
Sorrells said her son has taken the lesson to heart.
"He has been punished, and I want it to die down because he's not a bad child and everyone who knows him knows that he's not. He's already said he doesn't want to see a bullet or a gun. He doesn't want a part of that anymore. I honestly believe he learned his lesson," she said.