Principal, parents talk safety after gun found at middle school

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News 12 First at Five/ Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Shanard Walton, 15, made his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

Walton is the Glenn Hills Middle School student who's accused of bringing a gun to school last week.

The 8th grader is being charged as an adult for armed robbery after investigators say he brought a gun to school on two consecutive days, then cornered a classmate in a school bathroom and demanded his cell phone.

Watson will stay behind bars for now. The judge could not set bond Tuesday. He will have to go before a Superior Court Judge before bond is set.

Parents were called to a meeting with the Glenn Hills Middle School Principal Tuesday, to discuss not only safety, but also the responsibility of parents and the community.

Jermaine Patterson's son was the victim of the alleged armed robbery. He and his wife attended the parent meeting, along with hundreds of others like Willie Owens, concerned for their children's safety.

"I'm very concerned about the safety. I want them to get a great education," Owens says, but when he heard the news that a gun was found at his daughter's school, he panicked.

"My mind immediately went to the stuff going on around the nation. They're coming into schools and shooting and stuff you know?" he said.

The focus of the meeting was to ask for help from parents and the community, to get more involved in students' lives.

The victim's mother said, "Parents got to come and support the teachers more and the kids more and let them know. Not only do we love them at home, but we love them at school too."

She says, after her son was threatened with a gun on campus, and received death threats on Facebook, she planned to send him to another school. But the meeting changed her mind.

"We're not withdrawing him, he's staying here. We're going to come as parents and volunteer and help Mr. Andrews stand his ground with these kids," Patterson said.

The goal: that others will avoid the same fate as Walton, a 15-year-old with his life ahead of him, who could now be spending most of it behind bars.