By Andy Sevilla
Two Science Hall Elementary school students and a bus driver were shot by BBs when a student discharged an air gun inside a Hays CISD school bus last week, according to school and law enforcement officials.
A ten-year-old Science Hall Elementary School student, who had a BB gun in his backpack, pulled the trigger a couple of times inside the school bus, shooting two students and nicking the bus driver, according to a letter sent to parents by Science Hall Elementary Principal Soor-el Puga.
One student was shot on the ankle, and the other was shot on the foot, but school officials say no one on the bus was seriously injured nor required transportation to a hospital by EMS.
Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy said an investigation revealed no malicious intent by the student. “We hear that they were just playing on the bus,” he said.
The ten-year-old who allegedly brought the air gun to school and bus is said to have been playing with an eight-year-old on the bus when the gun was discharged.
Savoy said that while guns, including BB guns, are prohibited on school campuses and buses, “we’re fortunate that there was not any malicious intent by the student, and we’re fortunate that it was just a BB gun.”
Immediately after the shooting, the driver pulled the bus over and notified the Hays CISD transportation dispatch of the incident via radio, Puga said. School officials then called 911 and the Kyle Police Department, EMS and the Hays County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.
Sheriff’s Deputy Stephen Traeger said deputies were called out to a shooting incident at about 3:15 p.m. on Oct. 20, where authorities discovered a child had discharged an air gun inside a school bus.
Traeger said video surveillance on the school bus and interviews with students on board revealed who the alleged shooter was. Officers detained the 10-year-old boy.
Due to the child’s age, charges will not be filed and the investigation has been closed by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office, Traeger said.
“I know news like this can be scary for you as a parent,” Puga said in the letter. “I want to assure you that safety is paramount for me and our entire Science Hall Elementary team.”
Parents were first alerted of the incident Monday afternoon via phone calls and emails in English and Spanish, Savoy said. Parents were told that Bus 169 was running about 30 to 40 minutes late due to an incident that required police to be called.
“All students are OK and we will have a more detailed email to you this evening,” the initial communication said.
Savoy said school officials are using this case as a reminder that all staff has to be vigilant and attentive to what is going on. He said staff will be more observant with student behavior and look for items that are prohibited on school campuses.
Among the steps that can be taken to prevent another shooting, Puga told parents, “we need you to help reinforce to your children that if they see or hear anything that could be unsafe, they should report it to an adult right away.”
Puga also said, “You can help by checking your children’s backpacks from time to time to make sure they don’t have anything in them that doesn’t belong at school.”
Officials are cautioning parents who allow their children to have BB guns, to remind their kids of the safety rules involving air guns and that they are prohibited at school and on the bus.
Hays CISD officials are not revealing what disciplinary action will be handed down to the student, as specific action with students cannot be discussed, Savoy said.
“[We] can say we will apply consequences according to the Student Code of Conduct that we believe are appropriate for this case and that will help ensure student safety.”
Updated Wednesday, Oct. 29
An eight-year-old Hays CISD student is accused of discharging a BB gun inside a school bus Monday, according to Hays County Sheriff’s deputies.
Sheriff’s deputies were called out to a shooting incident at about 3:15 p.m. Oct. 20, where authorities found a child had discharged an air gun inside a Hays CISD school bus, Deputy Stephen Traeger said Wednesday.
Another student was struck on the foot when the BB gun was discharged, Traeger said, though he would not comment on whether that student was transported to a hospital.
Video surveillance on the bus and interviews with students onboard revealed the offender was an eight-year-old child, Traeger said. Due to the alleged offender’s age, charges will not be filed.
Traeger said the sheriff’s office would not release any further information and that Hays CISD would handle any disciplinary action on the matter.
Calls seeking comment from Hays CISD were not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon. We’ll bring you the latest information as it becomes available.