Student With Firearm At School Struggled With Mental Health Challenges, Says Mother

Illinois’ RICHTON PARK — According to the school administration and authorities, a fourth grader aged 10 brought a gun to school in the south suburban community of Richton Park on Wednesday.

The girl’s mother is also in trouble, but she also spoke with Jermont Terry of CBS 2. She wants everyone to be aware that her daughter has mental health problems.

When the fourth grader was seen in the classroom with a gun, the start of the school day on Wednesday at Richton Park’s Neil A. Armstrong Elementary School, 5030 Imperial Dr., was fraught with anxiety.

“She started to pull her gun, out and everybody started screaming and getting out the class,” remarked Jakaiyh Brunt, a student in the classroom.

Jakaiyh described how everyone hurried to a safe location with her mother’s approval.

Student With Firearm At School Struggled With Mental Health Challenges, Says Mother

“They locked the door, and then we started to pray,” Jakaiyh said.

The 10-year-old obtained the loaded revolver from her house, where her mother Chanel, a Cook County correctional officer, works, but it was also loaded.

“She’s been suffering from some type of mental illness – and every facility that we call to try to get her some help, it’s a waiting list,” Chanel said of her daughter.

Chanel claimed that her daughter started experiencing auditory hallucinations—hearing voices—about a month ago. Her mother claimed the representatives gave the youngster definite, terrifying instructions on Wednesday.

“And she said it whispered in her ear, ‘Shoot up the school,'” Chanel said.

Chanel claims her daughter entered her bedroom before school, following the voices.

“They told her to get the gun, and that’s when she went and found my gun,” said Chanel.

According to Chanel, the gun was in a secured box.

“It has the clips here that is missing, and I think it comes from her like pulling it loose,” Chanel said.

The mother thinks her 10-year-old daughter continued asking questions until the rifle and clip came loose.

“The voices told her to get it out,” Chanel said.

In the corridor, when the instructor had cleared the room, she confronted Chanel’s daughter.

According to Richton Park police, the teacher who stopped the fourth-grader was unaware that his weapon was loaded.

However, the instructor was able to gain control of the girl and remove the gun safely after a brief struggle in front of the other kids.

According to the district, staff members are supposed to receive safety training, but one teacher went above and beyond.

“This teacher does what the public expects us to. This lady put her life on the line to save children, by engaging this student right away,” said Richton Park police Chief Demitrous Cook.

“Without thinking about her own safety, she engaged this student, she cuffed the gun, and she asked for help – and another teacher, without regard for his safety, came up and took the weapon, and was able to go into the school principal’s office and lock it in a safe.”

Superintendent of Elementary School District 159, Dr. Tiffany Brunson, reported that Richton Park police were informed and the school was put on lockdown.

Police searched and cleared the school’s grounds, classrooms, restrooms, and halls during the lockdown, Brunson wrote. No one was permitted in or out of the building, with all its doors secured and every student’s attendance recorded.

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Brunson also applauded the teacher’s decision to take the gun.

“That is not part of the training,” she said. “That is part of being a hero.”

The lockdown was lifted when the 10-year-old was arrested and sent to the hospital for a mental health assessment. She could now be expelled.

Chanel maintained that she made an effort to secure assistance for her child. Since she knew her daughter had mental health difficulties, Terry questioned Chanel about whether she should have removed all the guns from the house.

“I don’t think we thought it was this bad,” Chanel said.

However, Chanel is currently being investigated for a misdemeanor allegation of harming the health and safety of a minor.

The Cook County Sheriff’s office issued the following statement in relation to the prison officer: “The employee has been de-deputized pending the outcome of an internal investigation. We would refer all questions about the incident to the Richton Park Police Department.”

Between the charges, her work, and worried for her kid, Terry questioned Chanel about how she planned to proceed.

“I don’t know how I’m moving,” Chanel said. “I’m just moving.”

According to Brunson, children may have been scared, who recommended parents talk to their kids about the incident and contact the school system if more emotional support is required.

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