Gun discharges in student's backpack outside Mpls. school, no injuries

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A handgun in a student's backpack went off outside Bethune Community School in north Minneapolis on Tuesday just before school let out for the day on Tuesday, local media reported. No one was injured.

The discharge was considered "accidental," a spokeswoman said, the Star Tribune reported. The firearm went off about 10 minutes before students were dismissed and there were few students outside near where the gun went off, the newspaper reports.

The spokeswoman said an initial report that surfaced online that the student was a second grader was false. FOX 9 reported that it was a third grade student who had the gun.

The district sent a mass e-mail to Bethune parents to notify them. Police were talking to the parents of the student, as well as a school bus driver who was nearby when the gun went off, the Star Tribune reported.

FOX 9 reported that the district released this statement:

"We are fortunate that no students or staff members were injured today when a firearm was discharged outside of Bethune Community School. Learning will continue as usual at Bethune tomorrow. We look forward to returning to a normal instructional day and are focused on ending the school year strong.

"We believe that a student accidently [sic] discharged a firearm outside of the school prior to students being dismissed this afternoon at approximately 3 p.m. We understand that the firearm was discharged from inside of a student's backpack. Again, no students or staff members were injured and although very few students were present at the time of the incident, some students may have heard a firearm shot or seen smoke. A School Messenger phone message was sent to Bethune families informing them of this incident after school dismissed.

"Bethune staff members followed appropriate protocol and immediately called the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) school resource officer for assistance. We are working with the MPD in determining the circumstances around this situation. Due to student data privacy and because MPD is actively investigating this incident, we are unable to share any other information about the situation.

"Weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited on school property. Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) is committed to following our policy in all matters involving weapons. Per MPS discipline and weapons-free schools policies, the superintendent regularly uses discretion in recommending appropriate disciplinary action. Information on any student's discipline is considered private student data and cannot be shared with the public."

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