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Woman arrested on charge of gun possession on school grounds

Mother says she didn't know it was illegal to have gun in her trunk

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Michale-Walker-Walden
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Michale-Walker-Walden

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman was arrested Sept. 26 on a charge of possession of a firearm on school property after a gun was found in her car in the parking lot of Terry Parker High School, a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report said.

Michale Walker-Walden told News4Jax Monday that she didn’t know it was illegal to have a gun on school grounds.

Walker-Walden, 35, was called to the school because of an incident her son had been involved in, the police report said.

According to authorities, her son was accused of assaulting a teacher. But the Terry Parker student, who has not been named due to his age, told News4Jax that he never thought his words would lead to his mother being arrested. 

"I told him if he did not leave me alone, I was going to punch him in his face," the student said.

According to the student, the issue stemmed from last year when he said he was attacked by several students, which caused a concussion. He said he's had issues since then with bullying from students and even a teacher's aide.

"I told them, 'Y'all keeping messing with these kids, some of these kids got guns on them and they go right after y'all,'" the 10th-grader said.

According to police, Walker-Walden’s son had been bragging to his friends that his mother always carried a gun, so they called her to the school to discuss the incident.

Walker-Walden said her son had a mental episode and the school did not have the proper professionals present.

"The school therapist is to assist the children and de-escalate when they're having an episode," Walker-Walden said.

The mother said she was leaving the school when she was stopped by school officials.

Police officers at Terry Parker said they searched Walker-Walden but didn’t find anything.

She gave officers permission to search her car, where they found found a loaded handgun in her purse in the trunk and arrested her, according to the arrest report.

But Walker-Walden said she did not give them permission.

"I didn't give her permission to take my keys. She took my keys and then turned around and gave my keys to a teacher at Terry Parker High School, who opened up my trunk and went into my locked container in my trunk of my car that was locked," Walker-Walden said. 

Though she did not bring the gun inside the school, the law does not allow firearms on school grounds. Walden said the school never provided information on that policy and officials should not have entered her car.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith, who's a former school resource officer, said that school officials had probable cause to enter her car because they said her son mentioned that she always had a gun -- so the search was not illegal.

News4Jax contacted Duval County Public Schools about the allegations of bullying and the school district said it is looking into them.