Gladeville Elem. locks down after hunter's stray gunfire
By KALYN SHELLY The Wilson Post
Gladeville Elementary School was placed in a lock-down for 30 minutes yesterday after gunshots were fired on the property backing up to the school grounds by a man who was turkey hunting on his land
David Burton, director of safety for Wilson County Schools, said the incident occurred around 1:20 p.m. when fifth grade students were on the playground. He said four girls were playing near a tree when they heard shots fired and they described "little pieces falling from the trees onto their arms."
Burton said the school did a "fantastic" job in taking the "necessary" steps to ensure that the children at the school remained safe. He said the parents of the girls were notified and sent home after school nurses made sure there were no serious injuries. He described their injuries as "very minor whelps comparable to a bug bite."
He said there was "no malice" in the incident but it was "definitely reckless."
"Hunters need to always exercise the basic rules of hunting," Burton said. "It's their job to know what is on the other side of their target."
Sheriff Terry Ashe said the hunter was legally hunting approximately 200 yards away from the school boundary fence when the shots were fired and was unaware of his close proximity to the fence at the school. He said hunters need to "exercise more caution" when hunting on property that is close to schools.
Ashe said this was not an intentional shooting and the hunter was "cooperative, remorseful and scared thinking of what could have happened."
The sheriff said yesterday's heavy winds may have also contributed to the pellets from the shells falling so close to school grounds.
He said this is not the first time something like this has happened on school grounds across the state. He said many schools in Wilson County have a large amount of property that backs up to a resident's private property and "especially around dove season" there have been reports of "pellets falling on school grounds."
Burton and Ashe suggested a "change of legislation" to legally prohibit hunters from being able to fire shots within a certain distance of school grounds.
Ashe declined to identify the hunter as no criminal charges have been filed against him at this time.
"The real issue is children's safety when hunting so close to school grounds," Ashe added.
Staff Writer Kalyn Shelly may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.