MUSTANG, Okla. - Mustang Public Schools says it is taking "appropriate action" after a district employee forgot to remove a loaded handgun from his bag before bringing it into Mustang High School Thursday, placing the school on lockdown, according to a school administrator.
In a release on the district's website, an unattended, "suspicious" bag was found by staff in the school's media center at around 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Inside was a loaded handgun. The release said administrators and school resource officers put the school on lockdown and called Mustang Police.
The district said the owner of both the bag and the gun is a Mustang Public Schools employee, with a concealed carry license, who said he planned to go target shooting Wednesday, but forgot to remove the firearm from his bag before coming inside the school Thursday.
"It's just kind of crazy to think about, this is a really good school and you don't normally think about that kind of thing happening. But I guess it can happen anywhere," said Lauren Harris, a Mustang senior, as she waited to pick up her younger brother. "It is a little alarming, but I’m glad whoever found it, found it, and it was handled."
In a letter to parents, Mustang High School Principal Teresa Wilkerson said the district is taking "appropriate action" for this employee.
"Providing a safe and secure learning environment is of top priority to the Mustang Public School System, and we take these incidents very seriously," Wilkerson said in the letter to parents. "Extensive security measures are in place to help us maintain a safe campus. We practice drills in order to respond to these situations, and today our safety protocols proved to be effective."
Even with a valid handgun license, it's against state law to have a firearm on school grounds unless the firearm is stored and hidden from view in a locked car when left unattended on school property. There is also an exception for firearms used as part of a specific district-approved program or course, but the weapon must be properly stored, according to state statutes.
State law also allows districts to adopt policies to authorize a person to carry a handgun onto school property by certain district employees designated by the school board. Those employees must have a valid armed security guard license or reserve peace officer certification.
Mustang Public School policy, and state law, says students who bring firearms on campus may be suspended out-of-school for a year, or more. It's unclear what type of punishment the employee is facing. Calls and messages to the district superintendent went unreturned Thursday.
Possession of a firearm on school grounds is a criminal misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $250.