CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A private school has denied that the weapon brought by one of its male students, which caused the accidental firing and wounding of another female student, was used as a prop for a school activity.
“To clarify, props were not required for the presentation, contrary to the circulating false news that the gun was brought as props for an English class activity,” said the Oro Christian Grace School (OCGS) in an unsigned statement.
OCGS’s pronouncement was in reaction to the news stories that came out following the January 30 incident when a seventh grader accidentally shot a fellow student with a 9mm Gloc pistol.
Information from the reports, however, came from the police.
In separate interviews, both Maj. Duyle Buenaflor, chief of the Macasandig police station, and Maj. Evan Viñas, the city police spokesperson, told the press that the weapon was used as a prop.
Viñas said before the event started, the student reportedly fired the pistol and hit his classmate on the hip.
OCGS, located at Barangay Macasandig, said the activity was for a poem recitation titled “Peace. Not War” which will be presented during the English Week Culmination Day this coming Feb. 7.
The school’s disciplinary investigation is still ongoing and the erring student has been placed in preventive suspension effective Jan. 30, cccording to the OCGS statement.
“Assuredly, the school will apply the necessary disciplinary procedures in completing the investigation and will implement the applicable policies to the proper and right conclusion and decision of the matter,” it said.
The student who brought the pistol, it said, “is now currently under the custody of his parents, who expressed full cooperation for any, and all repercussions, of the incident.”
Meanwhile, the victim is “out of danger, barring any complications, and is now in a stable condition, after her surgical procedure on January 31, 2020.”
The school said it provided debriefing sessions, with the help of health professionals to the students who have witnessed the incident.
“As the physical wellbeing of the injured student is of higher priority, debriefing for her will be provided at the soonest possible time,” it added.
City Council probe
The city council has planned on inviting the parents and officials of the school where the accident happened, Councilor Romeo Calizo said Saturday.
Calizo said he will ask the city council secretary to include in the agenda for today’s (Feb. 3) regular session his request to convene a joint committee that will look into the said shooting incident.
The councilor who heads the police, fire, and public safety committee, said he will include the women and family, and education committees in the joint meeting anytime this week. School officials including the students involved and their parents will also be invited.
In light of what happened, he has urged the school and other educational institutions in the city to be strict in its security policies.
“The school should take appropriate action immediately and implement stricter measures to ensure that the same incident will not happen again,” Calizo said, adding that the school administration must also profile students who may have the tendency to do such act inside the campus.
OCGS said it is cooperating with the proper authorities “to make sure that this isolated case is properly resolved.” They are also currently reviewing their safety and security protocols to prevent similar incidents from happening.
Starting today (Feb. 3), it said, “more stringent security checks will be implemented in the school campus” adding additional security checks may be imposed to “further strengthen our existing safety measures.”
The student who figured in the shooting incident is said to be a son of a ranking military official His parents were reportedly out of town when the incident happened.
The same boy previously brought a hand grenade to school.
Calizo said he finds it hard to believe that the school authorities have no knowledge that one of its students has been carrying weapons inside the campus.
“It is a very rare sight for a student and a minor, at that, to be bringing a grenade, and later, a pistol to school,” he said, adding that both the parents and the school can be held liable for what had happened.
But OCGS clarified that the video of the student showing a grenade to other students “was a separate incident that occurred on a different day and NOT in the school premises.” (davatoday.com)