Parents meet with principal over shooting

November 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Upset parents came together late Wednesday afternoon to sit down with an Oakland middle school principal. Early Tuesday morning, a gun went off in class, but many parents did not learn about that until they heard it on the news.

"I'm inviting everybody to come into the circle. Grab a chair," said Ivory Brooks.

At a meeting with parents, Cole Middle School Principal Ivory Brooks encouraged the same open circle talk he conducts with his students each day.

"The student and another student allegedly were joking around and playing around and the gun went off in the classroom," said Brooks.

Brooks says the 32-caliber bullet struck a radiator. None of the 8th graders were injured and a 13-year-old student was arrested. However, in a letter Brooks sent home to parents, he failed to mention the gun or the shooting. It simply said it was "an incident involving students' physical safety on campus."

"I wouldn't have known what really happened until last night on the news. He didn't know what to tell me," said parent Tracy Smith.

Smith says her son and other kids were afraid to tell teachers about the gun for fear of being shot.

"But you have a round circle, every day. Teach them how to tell in this round circle. Teach them not to be afraid to say something in the round circle," said Smith.

Mr. Brooks would not explain to ABC7 why he failed to mention the gun in the letter. School officials say he followed proper procedures, but they will review their protocol.

In his effort to be more open with the parents, Principal Brooks is holding another circle talk on Monday, December 1st at the school.