Florida teacher finds gun in kindergartner’s backpack, police say

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 4:11 PM

According to authorities, a teacher found a gun in a kindergartner’s backpack at Somerset Academy Lakes charter school in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Allen Eyestone, Palm Beach Post
According to authorities, a teacher found a gun in a kindergartner’s backpack at Somerset Academy Lakes charter school in West Palm Beach, Florida.(Allen Eyestone, Palm Beach Post)

A teacher found a gun in a kindergartner’s backpack Thursday morning at Somerset Academy Lakes, according to school and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office authorities. 

According to a message Principal Clint Duvo sent to parents, the student didn’t know the gun was in the backpack. The message stressed that neither students nor the staff at the Summit Boulevard campus were in danger. 

Duvo said the teacher found the firearm before classes began. He said the school’s staff immediately moved students away from the area, secured the classroom and called authorities. 

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The situation was handled “very, very quickly,” said Lynn Norman-Teck, a spokeswoman for the Florida Charter School Alliance.

The sheriff’s office said there is an investigation into how the firearm ended up in the elementary school student’s backpack. It was not immediately known whether anyone will face charges in the incident.

The elementary charter school, with ties to Miami rapper Pitbull and a large charter management company, opened in 2016 on the campus north of Palm Springs, Florida, and west of West Palm Beach, Florida. The school shares a building with its sister middle school, SLAM Palm Beach. 

Students have been caught with guns in Palm Beach County District schools at least 10 times this academic year, according to a Palm Beach Post analysis of court, police and school records. Only one of those incidents happened at an elementary school. The February incident occurred when a gun was found in a Cholee Lake Elementary School student’s backpack.

Somerset Academy Lakes is not a district school, meaning crime on campus is not handled by school police but by the sheriff’s office.

About one in 10 of the county’s students attend charter schools.

The full statement Duvo sent to parents is below.

Here at Somerset Lakes/SLAM, the safety and welfare of our students is always our paramount concern. We will always inform you of any concerns affecting our school community. 

This morning, before classes began, a teacher discovered there was a weapon in an early childhood student’s backpack. The student body and staff were never in any danger. Immediately upon discovering the gun, the classroom was secured, students were removed from the area, and authorities were notified. It is our understanding that the student did not intend to bring the weapon to school and had no knowledge that there was a weapon in the backpack. 

A Palm Beach County Schools official is on-site. Police are conducting a full investigation. We wanted to inform you of the incident as soon as law enforcement cleared us to do so and re-assure you again that no student was ever in any danger. We will continue to keep you informed as we have updates. For further information, please feel free to contact me at (561) 641-4449.

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Watch: Deputy frees bear trapped in car near Lake Tahoe

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 1:09 PM

WATCH: Deputy Rescues Bear Trapped in Car

A sheriff’s deputy had to rescue a bear that trapped itself inside a car near Lake Tahoe.

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The bear got locked inside a Subaru Outback in Carnelian Bay, officials said in the Facebook post.

The bear destroyed the car’s interior so badly that the doors couldn’t be unlocked, so the sheriff’s deputy had to break a window.

A Placer County Sheriff's deputy had to break the window of a Subaru Outback near Lake Tahoe to rescue a bear trapped inside.(Placer County Sheriff's Office)
Police dash camera video from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office showed the brave trooper breaking the window, allowing the bear to jump out and run into the forest.
A deputy had to help rescue a bear trapped inside a car near Lake Tahoe by breaking the car window, after the bear destroyed the inside of the car trying to escape.(Placer County Sheriff's Office)

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Starbucks offers 50 percent off Frappuccinos Thursday

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 1:56 PM

What You Need To Know: Starbucks

Starbucks could be an option for an afternoon pick-me-up this week, because drinks will be available at a discounted price.

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The company is offering 50 percent off of Frappuccinos Thursday, starting at 3 p.m., at participating locations. The happy hour deal is only available for beverages sized grande or venti, and it’s limited to one per person

Related: Starbucks adds new tropical pink drink to regular menu

If you’re a Starbucks Rewards member, just scan the app to snag your treat. Non members can enjoy the happy hour by signing up online. The coffee chain will then email you a code to give the cashier at checkout.

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Man with gun tattoo on forehead charged with illegal gun possession

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 12:10 PM

Man With Gun Tattoo On Forehead Charged With Unlawful Carrying Of Firearm

Michael Vines has a gun tattooed on his forehead, but that’s not the weapon that put him behind bars in South Carolina.

Police in Greenville reported Tuesday that Vines was involved in a recent car crash, after which city firefighters said they saw him toss a weapon into the grass nearby. The firefighters reported it to police officers, who recovered the gun, described as a fully loaded Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver. 

Vines, whose mugshot shows a tattoo of a handgun in the middle of his forehead, is federally prohibited from having a gun, police officials said. He was charged with unlawful carrying of a firearm, as well as driving under a suspended license and speeding. 

“The real weapon was placed in property and evidence,” police officials said on the department’s Facebook page

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The department’s social media followers couldn’t resist a few jokes at Vines’ expense. One man asked if someone “held a gun to his head” to make him get the tattoo. 

Another man offered this hypothetical exchange:

“COP: ‘Sir, do you have any guns on you?’ 
THIS GUY: ‘No.’ 
COP: ‘Are you sure?’
THIS GUY: ‘Absolutely. No way.’ 
COP: ‘Are you suuuuuuuurrrrreeeee?’ (Taps him on the forehead.)”

“Remorse written all over his forehead,” a commenter said. “No, wait. Nope, that’s a gun. My bad.”

Police officials did not say why Vines is prohibited from possessing a gun. 

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Which Republicans are speaking out against separating immigrant families? Which governors are recalling guard troops from borders over it?

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 11:43 AM

'Zero Tolerance' Immigration Policy: Why Are Children Being Separated From Their Families

After meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Kentucky), said that he and the rest of the Republican caucus plan to work on legislation that would end the practice of separating migrant families at the country’s southern border. 

“I support, and all of the members of the Republican conference support, a plan to keep families together while their immigration status is determined,” McConnell said.

>>President Trump to reverse course on immigrant family separations

McConnell is the highest-ranking Republican to publicly disagree with Trump on the “zero tolerance” immigration policy announced in April by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The policy calls for adults illegally entering the country to be criminally prosecuted. 

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Children who accompany those arrested for illegally entering the country are separated from their parents or guardians and taken into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Photographs of children behind fenced areas inside large facilities and an audio tape of children crying for their parents have led legislators to call for Trump to immediately end the policy of separating migrant families.

According to immigration records, during April and May, federal authorities separated at least 1,995 children from parents apprehended crossing the border illegally.

>>Clergy group brings church charges of child abuse, immorality against Jeff Sessions over zero-tolerance policy

Sen. Ted Curz, (R-Texas), introduced a bill Tuesday that would require children be kept with their family members unless the child appeared to be in danger or the victim of human trafficking. The bill calls for doubling the number of federal immigration judges and authorize new family shelters.

Also on Tuesday, Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R-Utah), and a dozen other Republican senators sent a letter to Sessions asking him to stop the policy of separating migrant families while Congress works on a solution to the issue.

The letter read in part: "The immediate cause of the crisis is your Department's recent institution of a 'zero tolerance' policy under which all adults who enter the United States illegally are referred for prosecution, regardless of whether they are accompanied by minor children. We support the administration's efforts to enforce our immigration laws, but we cannot support implementation of a policy that results in the categorical forced separation of minor children from their parents.”

Those senators signing the letter:

Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee)

Sen. John Boozman (Arkansas)

Sen. Bill Cassidy (Louisiana)

Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)

Sen. Bob Corker (Tennessee)

Sen. Cory Gardner (Colorado)

Sen. Dean Heller (Nevada)

Sen. James Lankford (Oklahoma)

Sen. John McCain (Arizona)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)

Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio)

Sen. Pat Roberts (Kansas)

Here are some other Republicans who have spoken out against the policy:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt

“We clearly have a border security problem," Blunt said in a statement to KCUR. "I agree with Mrs. [Laura] Bush and Mrs. [Melania] Trump that separating families does not meet the standard of who we are as a country. Strengthening our border security and upholding our laws in a manner consistent with our values will help facilitate progress toward addressing all aspects of our broken immigration system.”

Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder

“As the son of a social worker, I know the human trauma that comes with children being separated from their parents,” he tweeted. “It takes a lasting, and sometimes even irreversible toll on the child’s well-being. That’s why I’m demanding that Attorney General Sessions halt the practice of family separation at the border immediately as Congress works toward legislative solutions.”

Texas Sen. John Cornyn

“Parents who are awaiting court proceedings shouldn’t have to do so separated from their children, and children shouldn’t be taken from their parents and left frightened and confused about where they are and what is transpiring around them.”

Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman

“This afternoon I reached out to Sen. Diane Feinstein’s office to let her know I want to help her put a stop to this human rights disaster at the border. If that means introducing her bill in the House, I’d be honored to stand with her. If there is a better bill sponsor to get this done, or if there is a better approach from Sen. Ben Sasse, I’m open to all reasonable options. Tearing children from the arms of parents and then isolating them alone is antithetical to the America I grew up in, and to the America I have fought many times to defend. This isn’t who we are. My colleagues should mark their words and this moment — history won’t remember well those who support the continuation of this policy.”

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse 

“The president should immediately end this family separation policy.”

Texas Rep. Will Hurd

“This is part of the problem with this administration on this policy. There's different elements of the government that don't understand what's really going on. Kids are being separated from their parents. In the last two months, there's been about 2,000. The previous year, it was almost 700. And a hundred of those kids were under the age of 4. This is just absolutely unacceptable. Taking kids from their mothers is not preventing terrorists or drugs from coming into this country.”

Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers 

“I will support other means to stop unnecessary separation of children from their parents.”

New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith

"There is nothing more important than protecting vulnerable children from physical and psychological harm. The policy of forcibly separating children from their parent or parents at the U.S. border is seriously wrong, hurts families, and needs to immediately end.

"The departments of Justice and Homeland Security must halt the practice of family separations, except in the cases of criminal felonies by an adult including rape, murder, sexual assault on a minor, or human trafficking."

Not calling out the Guard

Governors of at least 13 states have said they will not send their state’s National Guardsmen to help secure the southern border, according to a story from The New York Times.

The governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia have all said they will not deploy National Guard troops to the southern border. 

Governors of other states have said they will not use state resources to separate adults from children at the border.

In April, Trump called on the country’s governors to deploy more National Guard troops to the border to help with border security. State governors control National Guard deployment.

Most of the governors who have said they will either recall or refuse to send troops are Democrats. Two of the governors who have spoken publicly about National Guard troop deployment to the border are Republicans – Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

The role of National Guard troops is limited. National Guard troops are forbidden by the Posse Comiatus Act from detaining suspects, from using force or from other law enforcement functions. Their role at the border would be one of providing support and possibly helping in surveillance.

In this Monday, June 18, 2018 file photo, Akemi Vargas, 8, cries as she talks about being separated from her father during an immigration family separation protest in front of the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. District Court building in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

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