BY STEVEN MAYER Californian staff writer email@example.com
Finding a loaded gun on a school playground during recess is not the best way to start the school day.
But the safe confiscation of a loaded .22 caliber handgun by Delano police after the gun was found Wednesday morning by students at Princeton Street School was the best possible outcome, school officials said.
Delano Union School District Assistant Superintendent Mark Luque said at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, elementary students playing during recess noticed the firearm in the grass on the school playground.
And that's when months of school safety training kicked in, he said.
The students immediately informed a teacher. Staff members called authorities and removed all students from the area.
After officers from the Delano Police Department arrived, they determined the gun was real and that it was loaded for firing, Luque said.
Once the handgun was secured, police determined the campus to be safe. Children were not sent home and instruction resumed, Luque said.
In a letter to parents sent home the following day, district Superintendent Robert Aguilar related what happened and credited increased safety training in the district for the positive outcome.
"Yesterday's incident demonstrates that our staff and students were prepared to handle this situation," Aguilar said in the letter. "Furthermore, our district continues to work with the Delano Police Department to improve the safety measures on our campus."
Luque was asked why the district waited until Thursday to send a letter home to parents.
"That's a question for the superintendent," he said.
Aguilar was not available for comment Friday. But in his letter, he told parents their children are safe at school.
"I want to assure you," he said, "the Delano Union School District and all of our schools are safe locations."
Delano police did not immediately return calls for more details.