YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A day after an 11-year-old girl was found to have a loaded gun on a school bus in Youngstown heading home from St. Joseph the Provider school, Father Michael Swierz, the president of the school, is speaking out about the incident.
Swierz said he’s waiting for the outcome of the Youngstown Police Department’s investigation to know if the student planned on using the gun.
“The bus driver told her to come up, bring the bag up front and she did so without any resistance or anything, and he took the gun from her,” Swierz said. “The fact is she brought it, and thank God she didn’t use it.”
The girl told police that she got the gun from her mother. She also told investigators that she had been bullied. Father Swierz says the school has zero tolerance for bullying.
“Every child, no matter who he or she is or no matter how old, we will protect them as best as we can from the dangers of bullying and everything that goes along with that,” Swierz said.
Swierz says because this incident happened off school grounds, they haven’t been able to talk to the girl’s parents. He believes this is an isolated incident and has already spoken to the staff and students.
“The children all knew what to do when they are bullied. If they are made fun of, they know what to do,” he said.
Swierz doesn’t know if the girl had the gun inside the school. Leaders are now looking at what they can do legally to better protect the school.
“A metal detector or things like that. Not to scare the kids but to at least make the kids and their parents feel safe,” Swierz said.
As for the way the situation was handled, Swierz takes no issue.
“The way the Youngstown city bus driver handled it was to be applauded that he kept everyone on that bus safe as well as that individual child.”
The situation remains under investigation.