A 13-year-old student in Durban, South Africa accidentally shot himself in the leg at school this week — reportedly using a school security guard’s gun. Guards are not armed at the school, but this guard had allegedly brought his personal gun from home. IOL reports:
A security guard was on duty at an oThongathi (Tongaat) primary school when the teen allegedly removed the guard’s private gun from his unsecured bag.
The Grade 7 pupil at Hambanathi Primary, sustained a single gunshot wound to his thigh and is reported to be in a stable condition at Osindisweni Hospital, in Verulam.
According to the school principal, he had allegedly removed the gun from the guard’s bag and was attempting to shove it into the waist of his pants, when a shot accidentally went off, said the school principal, Mrs S Mahlinza.
The guard, who was meant to be unarmed, is contracted by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education.
He has been arrested and charged for failing to secure his firearm.
The incident has prompted calls for “urgent” action to ban guns in schools, with officials citing the recent Newton, Ct. tragedy. In the United States, meanwhile, the National Rifle Association has urged more armed school guards as a solution to preventing future school shootings, and several states are now considering legislative proposals, in spite of scientific and historical evidence that armed school guards don’t prevent these sorts of incidents. Many states are even implementing programs to arm teachers and add gun courses for students.
The physical danger of armed guards highlighted by this incident is not the only threat posed by the NRA’s plan. Placing more officers in schools has also been correlated with drastic and racially disproportionate upticks in student arrests — often as an alternative means of school discipline. The criminalizing of minor student infractions known as the “school-to-prison pipeline” is already an epidemic in some states, and has the potential to dramatically alter a child’s future by funneling them out of school and into the criminal justice system.