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Student charged in Del Valle gun case; parents upset with school response

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A Del Valle Elementary School student is now charged with a felony after bringing an unloaded gun to school this week. Tuesday morning Austin Police say a teacher noticed a student showing off a gun to other students. The student then hid the gun in his backpack which the teacher quickly confiscated.

The gun was not loaded and the student didn't have any bullets. The school resource officer, which is a Travis County Sheriff's deputy, took possession of the gun and the student who was transferred to Gardner Betts Juvenile Center.

Del Valle Elementary Principal Bertha Hernandez sent a letter home with students after school. Some parents say they wish the school would have used its automated call system earlier in the day.

"They use it to let me know about a book fair and special events but why didn't they use it to let me know there was a gun found at school," said parent Kevin Sargent. Sargent's son goes to Del Valle Elementary.

Parent Narsissa Pena wanted a call too. "We don't want to alarm you and we want to let you know this happened. It has been taken care of and the students are safe. It's not rocket science," said Pena about what she would have liked to have heard.

The DVISD says all the information in the one page letter was too much for a phone call. Hernandez assures parents in the letter there was no evidence of a threat to campus and the gun was confiscated quickly.

Austin Police are now investigating how the gun made it to campus.

"There were no bullets in the firearm but either way there was a firearm in an elementary school," said APD Senior Police Officer Vaneza Bremner. Bremner stresses the importance of talking to your children about guns.

"It's not a toy. It's just not a toy so it's dangerous for someone who doesn't have knowledge to handle a gun whether you're a child or an adult," explained Bremner.

Hernandez also emphasized in her letter that what happened is a serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct and the law. "It is illegal for any adult to make a firearm accessible to a child. If you have a gun in your home, please lock it up; don't trust that your child understands the dangers," writes Hernandez in her letter to parents.

Pena and Sargent hope this never happens again but if something similar does they want their phones to ring.

APD says there is a chance an adult could be cited in connection to the gun being on campus.

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