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Student still enrolled at Columbus City Schools after police say he brought gun to class

Lisa - starter pistol brought to school.jpg
Police say a freshman brought a "starter pistol" into class last school year. It was discovered when police say the ninth grader started to play with the gun underneath a classroom table. (WSYX/WTTE)

After a student faced a judge on charges he brought a gun to school earlier in September, parents voiced their doubts as to what would happen in the case. So, ABC 6's Scoring Our Schools pulled the police reports and discovered three cases over the last three school years involving Marion-Franklin High School, kids, and guns. The results of these investigations differed with each case.

Waki Malik Bryant, 18, now stands accused of placing a gun and loaded magazine in his backpack and bringing it into Marion-Franklin. He faced a judge last week on concealed weapons charges, and could face more than a year in prison if convicted.

"Of course, you shouldn't bring guns to the school but it was a misunderstanding," said Bryant's school friend Destiny Strickland. "People don't know what he was going through."

Strickland condemned the arrest calling the actions too harsh. That's compared to the case at Marion-Franklin back in May 2019. Police say a freshman brought a starter pistol into class last school year. It was discovered when police say the ninth grader started to play with the gun underneath a classroom table. Since a starter pistol cannot shoot bullets, the freshman was never charged with a crime.

"Even though it wasn't a real pistol, it was something that could have caused havoc in the school," said Chris Stepp who has a son attending Marion-Franklin. "Kids could get hurt anyways."

Strickland also felt the two cases were are an example of a double standard. "This doesn't sound equal, at all," she said.

Columbus City Schools did not address district action regarding the boy but did confirm he is still enrolled with CCS. A district spokesperson called the decision to allow a child back in class a "case by case" basis.

However, a Marion-Franklin sophomore did not return after he brought a loaded gun into a classroom back in October 2017. The tenth grader was charged in juvenile court and admitted to carrying the gun around in his pants pocket along with a small amount of marijuana. The boy spent time in juvenile detention and then went into the custody of Child Protective Services. The agency sent the student to a facility in Pennsylvania which could suit his behavioral health needs. The courts terminated that custody in February of this year.

Despite three guns getting into the same school during three consecutive school years, both Columbus City Schools and police maintain the best defense for guns in school is encouraging others to say something when they see something. Currently, there are no metal detectors at any Columbus City School.

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