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Staff report, Published February 20 2009

Student with unloaded rifle found on school bus at Red Lake Elementary

BEMIDJI, Minn. - A student boarding a school bus bound for Red Lake Elementary School Friday morning was found to be in possession of an unloaded rifle.

Red Lake Superintendent Brent Gish said the district’s transportation director, Donovan English, was filling in as a bus driver when he observed the student get on the bus.

“He noticed something unusual about (the student’s) position,” Gish said.

The student was walking strangely, Gish said.

English investigated and found a concealed rifle, Gish said.

English immediately took it away from the student and removed the weapon from the bus, Gish said.

The bus never left the bus stop.

The student’s parents were summoned to the scene, along with the Red Lake Police Department and family services.

The student exited the bus, Gish said. Gish did not know the current status of the student or if the student was taken into custody.

The student’s family said the rifle was not loaded, Gish said.

Once the bus was determined to be safe, the children, minus the student with the rifle, were brought to the elementary school, Gish said.

A sweep was done on the grounds of the facility, according to district policy, to ensure the students’ safety, Gish said.

Once everything was determined to be safe, the school day continued.

“This was a positive result. The policies and procedures worked," Gish said, praising English.

The Pioneer of Bemidji and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.