Mother charged after 10-year-old brings gun to Chatham school

North Chatham student suspended

mschultz@newsobserver.comNovember 9, 2012 

— The mother of a 10-year-old student at North Chatham School has been charged with a misdemeanor after her daughter brought a loaded .45-caliber gun to school Wednesday.

Idre Tania Moreno, 28, of 219 Highland Drive North in Chapel Hill was charged with failure to secure firearms.

Investigators don’t think the child planned to hurt anyone, according to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office. Moreno is scheduled to appear Dec. 12 in Chatham County District Court.

An adult learned that a student might have a gun in her book bag before the start of school Wednesday, and a school resource officer from the sheriff’s office was called, district spokeswoman Beth McCullough said.

She did not know why the student brought it to school.

A letter went home with students, and a phone call and email alert went out Wednesday evening.

“As you may have heard or read in the letter sent home this afternoon, we found a loaded firearm in a student’s book bag before school began this morning,” the email alert from Principal Dale Minge said. “It is important to us that you know how seriously we took this isolated situation and that we responded immediately. Everything was resolved quickly without incident, and we have taken appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with state and local policy.”

The student who brought the gun to school has been suspended, possibly for 365 days pending a hearing, McCullough said.

McCullough said the school district did not notify parents sooner because the situation was handled safely and they didn’t want to create panic.

“We contained it as soon as we learned about it,” she said. “You always have to weigh it: Are you going to create more levels of concern, or are you going to handle it.”

Melissa Minor, a parent of two children at the school, said she understands that but still wants to know more about how the system handled the situation. She learned about the incident when her children got off the bus about 3:30 p.m. and handed her the note.

“My biggest concern is nobody knows what they did,” she said. “All they’ve said is they’ve handled it. They haven’t said how.”

Minge was out of town Wednesday, but he was already planning to hold a discussion on school safety for parents next month, McCullough said.

North Chatham School, with 554 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, is located off Lystra Road just south of Governors Club.

Schultz: 919-932-2003

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