JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some parents told News4Jax they were upset with the Duval County School District's response after Jacksonville police said a Timucuan Elementary School student admitted to an officer that he was carrying a gun in his backpack.
While some parents of students said they never received a notification from the district, others said they received a phone call or email on Tuesday, which was five days after the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was notified, according to the report.
Laureen Ricks, spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools, said police did not notify the district of the incident until Tuesday, which is the same day parents were issued a notice from the district.
Yolanda Cooper, a mother of eight children, who notified the Sheriff's Office, said her daughter was walking home from Timucuan Elementary with a group of students and witnessed the 12-year-old pull the gun out of some bushes.
"She told me, 'Well, the boy had a gun,'" Cooper said. "I feel like somebody really needs to pay the price for this."
Cooper said her daughter told her that for two days in a row, the boy hid the gun in the bushes off school property before class. On his way home, he pulled it out of the bushes and put it in his backpack.
According to the report from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the boy told police he found the gun in a nightstand drawer inside his home and wanted the gun for protection from a strange man who had been watching him as he walked to and from school.
Cooper said she approached the 12-year-old's parents, who live in the same neighborhood. She said she didn't feel the student's parents took the situation seriously.
"The mom has shown no emotion at all," Cooper said. "My daughter's life could've been taken, her son's life could've been taken."
Cooper said she is now taking her daughter to and from school.
News4Jax visited the address for the 12-year-old, which was listed on the police report. A young man who answered the door said the address was incorrect, however, Cooper confirmed it was the correct address.
The Duval County Public School Police Department is conducting its own investigation. It remains unclear whether the gun was on school grounds.