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UPDATED - Student facing charges after bringing unloaded weapon to Rosspoint Elementary in Harlan

From Harlan County Public Schools/KCSO -

(Harlan, Ky.) – On Monday February 10, 2020 the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Harlan County School officials concerning a handgun that was located at Rosspoint Elementary School.

Officials at the school were made aware of the weapon by a student. Official acted quickly and took possession of the weapon. The weapon was not loaded and no ammunition was located. There were no threats made to anyone at the school. Information obtained indicates that the weapon may have been left in a backpack following a camping trip this past weekend.

A juvenile student was taken into custody by the Sheriff’s Office and charged with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon on School Property (Class D Felony). The Court Designated Worker was contacted and the juvenile was lodged in the Breathitt County Juvenile Detention Center.

The Sheriff’s Office takes these complaints seriously and is working closely with school officials to handle this complaint. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to work closely with school officials to ensure safety and security at schools.

The case remains under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.



Harlan County Schools Superintendent Brent Roark is commending the quick and appropriate action of students and staff during an incident at Rosspoint Elementary School this morning.

A student brought an unloaded firearm to the school in a backpack. Fellow students promptly alerted school staff after hearing statements from the student about having a holster. Staff then found an unloaded weapon in the backpack. No ammunition was present. Police took the child into custody. The student was transported to appear before a court designated worker.

The Harlan County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky State Police and Harlan County Safe Schools staff are assisting in the investigation.

There was never a threat made against anyone, police said. The child told authorities he failed to take it out of his backpack following a weekend outing with his father. The father indicated that over the weekend he and his son had been in the mountains and had firearms on that excursion.

Superintendent Roek said: “I can’t commend our students and staff enough for their actions this morning. The students knew exactly what to do and responded appropriately. Our teachers and staff are trained in preparedness and they responded appropriately as well. The weapon was not loaded and the student made no threats to or against anyone.”

Roark commended Teachers Needham Saylor and Robert McHargue and to Guidance Counselor Terri Kelly for their prompt response to student reports.

Jim T. Whitaker, Harlan County safe schools coordinator said: “I realize we live in an area where hunting and shooting are common practice to many. Parents should ensure that anytime young people have participated in such activities away from school that firearms and ammunition are secured in order to prevent such incidents.”

We ask that all parents talk with their children about the seriousness of such an incident. We urge parents to encourage their children to report any suspicious activity that may result in harm to any of our students or staff.

There are substantial legal ramifications for the student, including charges by law enforcement and expulsion hearing by the Harlan County Board of Education.

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