The Pocatello Police Department paid a visit to District 25 schools this week, responding to three separate incidents involving kids bringing weapons to school.
On Thursday, students reported a 13-year old male student had an Air Soft pistol in his backpack. Although he did not threaten anybody, he told police he brought the fake gun to ward-off bullies who had been giving him a hard time.
The Air Soft gun the boy had in his backpack looks eerily similar to the Glock pistols police officers carry. The only visible exception is the orange tip found on the toy, however the boy had removed it.
"You can't tell from a distance," Sgt. Ralph Daniels said. "Even up close it's hard to tell that it's a fake gun because it's built to look so much like the Glocks that we carry."
Daniels works with the school resource officers around the district. He said the students who came forward to notify the RSO did the right thing.
He said when these incidents happen, they interview the student who brought the weapon to find out why they brought it to school.
He said most often, the root of the problem starts when kids are being bullied and do not feel comfortable telling an officer on duty, a school administrator, or even their parents. He said many times this can be avoided starting at the dinner table.
"Parents need to talk to their kids every evening after school. 'Hey, how was your day? What's going on?' Because in a lot of incidents, what we are finding, is kids are having a hard time at school. They are being bullied," Daniels said.
Depending on the severity of the circumstances surrounding the incident, students can either be taken into custody or issued a citation to appear in court later.
Here is the district's policy on threats and safety: http://bit.ly/Km6yoC.
Also on Thursday, police responded to a 14-year old male student at Century High School who had a stun gun in his backpack. According to the police report, several students saw the weapon, reported it to the RSO on duty, and the student was cited for possessing a weapon.
On Monday, another Century High School student, 16, was found with pepper spray after police were investigating a previous theft complaint. He is being held at the Juvenile Detention Center and has been charged with theft, possession of a weapon on school grounds and possession of tobacco.
You can watch this story tonight at 5 and 6 on Local News 8.