PORT BARRE, La. (KLFY)– A sixth grader from Port Barre is facing a felony charge after police say he brought a fake gun to school. The 12-year-old student was arrested for bringing the toy pistol to school after allegedly bragging about having the gun and threatening two other male students on social media.
This came after a verbal argument with the boys a few days prior. The student was charged with attempting to terrorize or menace. He could face up to two years in a juvenile detention center at just 12-years-old.
Port Barre Police Chief Deon Boudreaux said this highlights a growing need in rural schools.
“It could be a fake gun today and be a real gun tomorrow,” Boudreaux said. “Even though it’s not a real gun, the threat is still there.”
Boudreaux said with school shootings happening across the country, every threat is taken seriously.
“If something does happen, say a school shooting could happen on our campus, time is very important. Seconds could mean somebody’s life,” Boudreaux told News 10.
Boudreaux said a huge issue is that small, rural, and low-income towns as well as low economically developed parishes don’t always have a police officer at the school.
In Port Barre, their police department doesn’t have the money or manpower, so none of the four schools have an officer there on standby. The chief believes the government should help with the funding.
“That burden shouldn’t be placed on a town. It shouldn’t be placed on a police agency. It should not be placed on the schools or the parents. I really believe that our federal and state government should get together, use the tax money that we pay, and manage that in a way that puts the safety of our children first,” Chief Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux said right now in Louisiana, neither towns nor parishes have any government funding designated to putting police officers in schools.
“If we can fund hurricanes and we can fund COVID, we can fund emergencies. This here is an emergency because our children are the greatest assets we have. They are our future. Why not protect your greatest asset? Let that money go to where it needs to go,” Boudreaux told News 10.