Two teen-age boys have been arrested and charged with taking a gun to school on the morning of May 9 after school bus surveillance video showed them loading the gun and taking it off the bus when it arrived at Ware Middle School, said Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.
The boys, ages 15 and 14, were arrested Friday at 5 p.m. at their homes which are inside the city limits, Royal said.
“We don’t know what their intent was,” said Royal. “But they certainly had a firearm and it was loaded.”
Royal said they were turned over to the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. One of them remains confined while the other was released to his parents, he said. He said one of the teens has been in trouble with the law on previous occasions, though he would not specify.
“We have no way of knowing if they have violent propensities. But we can say for sure the gun was loaded,” said Royal. “There is no way of knowing if it could have turned violent, but any student with a gun on school property is a threat to the safety of others and that is always taken very seriously. It has the potential to be very dangerous and we wanted to avoid that at all costs.”
Royal said additional arrests are possible and more charges are possible on the boys who were taken into custody.
“On Friday, the sheriff’s office and the SRO at Ware Middle School were notified by the principal (Dr. Darlene Tanner) at about 9 a.m. that a report had been received about a student having a gun on campus,” said Royal. “An investigation was launched and surveillance tapes in the school and on the bus were reviewed.”
Royal said the boys were captured on the video putting bullets in the handgun while on the bus.
“We based everything we did on proper protocol,” said Royal. “Both were taken to the jail, fingerprinted and photographed and then taken to the RYDC (Regional Youth Detention Center).”
The sheriff expressed appreciation to the school board and school system for assistance rendered.
“They all worked diligently with us on the investigation,” said Royal. “They were very helpful.”
Ware County school officials released the following statement regarding the issue:
“The Ware County School System has worked diligently with the Ware County Sheriff’s Department in an investigation resulting in the arrest of two Ware County Middle School students who were charged with possession of a firearm on school property,” said a representative of the Ware County school system. “Additional charges or arrests may follow. Due to the live nature of the investigation, no further information is available at this time.”
Royal declined to say what caliber the firearm is.
Royal expressed that the national climate created by gun violence at schools across the United State in recent years has resulted in a “zero tolerance” mentality.
“We certainly have a zero tolerance for guns at schools here,” he said.