A classroom at Emerson Elementary in Berkeley (file photo). Photo: BUSD
A classroom at Emerson Elementary in Berkeley (file photo). Photo: BUSD

An Emerson Elementary student in Berkeley found a loaded gun and took it to school Monday, authorities have reported.

According to the Berkeley Police Department, an Emerson teacher discovered the student with the handgun. Staff took possession of the gun and called police to turn it in, said Lt. Dan Montgomery of BPD.

Montgomery said officers later responded to the boy’s home to learn more from him and his parents, “In large part to check on the safety and welfare of the child and to make sure there was no threat of violence in the future at the school.”

The boy told police he found the gun “near a neighborhood school while in the company of cousins.”

The exact location of the discovery was not provided, but the school is located at 2800 Forest Ave. in the Elmwood neighborhood, near Piedmont Avenue and the UC Berkeley campus.

Police advised the boy about the dangers of guns, and told him to avoid touching weapons in the future and instead to let an adult know about any future discoveries.

The child was well cared for and not at risk in the home and was left in the care of his mother, Montgomery said. 

Berkeleyside has asked the Berkeley Unified School District for any further information and will update this post if it is provided. A statement is being prepared for parents by the school principal and superintendent, said Mark Coplan, district spokesman.

Update, 9:48 p.m.  BUSD sent the following message to parents. It appears below in full.

Dear Emerson Families,

I’m writing to communicate about a troubling incident that took place at Emerson School today. A student reported to school staff that another child had a gun at home. Staff spoke to the child, who admitted he had actually brought the weapon to school. Staff quickly recovered the gun, which was real and was loaded. They followed district safety protocols and notified the Berkeley Police Department and BUSD staff, who convened at Emerson to investigate and assist.

At this time, the Berkeley Police Department, District staff, and additional child welfare agencies are leading the investigation and follow up. While we can’t disclose any further information about the student, we are working with the family and all of the community partners mentioned above. We do not have any indication at this point that the student intended to cause harm to other students, staff, or himself.

We realize that this news is extremely upsetting and we assure you that every measure possible is being taken to ensure student safety.

We want to be very thoughtful about what should be communicated to kids, and so a follow up communication will be sent to families tomorrow outlining how we will be managing the discussion with kids at school.

At a minimum, we plan to review guidelines for the right thing to do when a student observes something wrong, inappropriate, or dangerous on our school campus. It should be noted again that this situation was brought to a safe conclusion because a young person did the right thing and notified a trusted adult.

Please know that we will handle this incident the way we always do things at Emerson: thoughtfully, collaboratively, and with concern and compassion. Thank you in advance for your support and patience.


Ms. Hodge
Emerson Principal

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...