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7 Year-Old Boy Takes Pistol to School

August 27, 2010

Costa Rica’s National Police confiscated a loaded .22-caliber revolver Monday from a 7-year-old boy at the María Leal grade school in Santa Cruz, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.

According to the Security Ministry, the first-grader was carrying the gun inside his backpack when a teacher noticed a strange bulge in the bag.

The teacher halted the child, searched his bag and called the police. Officials said the pistol was loaded with two bullets.

The boy’s grandmother, who arrived at the school after authorities notified her of the situation, denied that the gun belonged to anyone in the family.

The boy was released to his family and the case has been presented to the Santa Cruz prosecuting attorney, who will determine if further action is necessary.

Henry Quesada, principal of the María Leal school, said officials from the Education Ministry have been instructing teachers at his school to intervene when they suspect a child is armed.

The ministry presented the school with a series of weapon-intervention protocols at the beginning of the school year, Quesada said.

Costa Rica’s Education Ministry has come under pressure recently to tackle school violence and misconduct after a 17-year-old male student shot and killed his school’s principal last month at a private high school in Heredia, north of San José.

–Mike McDonald

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