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Ethan student suspended after gun brought to school

ETHAN — A high school student in Ethan has been suspended for 10 days after accidentally bringing an airsoft gun to school Monday.

Ethan School District Superintendent Terry Eckstaine said an airsoft gun -- which generally fires plastic pellets and are considered to be non-lethal -- was found in the trunk of a student's car near the school's shop area Monday afternoon by a teacher. The male high school student was then suspended for 10 days, starting Tuesday. Eckstaine did not identify the student, his age or grade level.

No students or staff were in any danger, Eckstaine said. It was the first time that the school has had an incident with any type of firearm.

"The teacher found it and reported it," he said. "It appeared to be accidental."

Eckstaine said the school has followed its protocol on the matter. According to the school's student-parent handbook, the "possession of weapons" is listed as a severe level 3 offense and results in 10 days of out-of-school suspension, a parent meeting, contacting law enforcement, a referral for expulsion. When The Daily Republic contacted Eckstaine on Wednesday afternoon, he said he had not yet contacted law enforcement.

Later Wednesday afternoon after The Daily Republic's interview with Eckstaine, Davison County Sheriff Steve Brink said school officials talked to him and both sides agreed the matter would be handled internally under the school's rules. Brink added that the involvement of law enforcement in a gun matter can vary based on the circumstances of the incident.

He said this particular incident in Ethan did not warrant the involvement of law enforcement, in part because it was accidental.

Eckstaine said the student's return to school is subject to school board approval once the 10-day suspension is over. The school board has a regular meeting Monday night, where the school board will decide on the matter.