Even in Mesquite, You Can't Bring Guns to an Elementary School

When I picked up the phone a bit ago, I was expecting a call back from a congressional candidate for whom I'd left a message. Instead, it was a robocall from a pleasant-voiced woman speaking Spanish.

I would have hung up -- I've forgotten what little I learned in high school Spanish -- but I was curious. Best I could make out, the woman was telling me that there was some sort of incident this morning at my child's school, that the police had been called out but that everything is fine.

Having only a vague idea of what the woman had said, my mind raced through the possibilities -- shooting rampage, bomb threat, serial rapist -- before I realized that my son is 3 and is spending the day with Grandpa. The chances that something so catastrophic would happen that it would require a robocall seemed slim. Even slimmer was the chance either would have had the wherewithal to find a Spanish-speaking woman to record a message, then program a computer to send said message to my office.

Googling the number that popped up on my caller ID, I learned the robocall came not from North Dallas, where my parents live, but from Mesquite. More Googling told me that there are, in fact, schools in Mesquite. An entire district, no less, which I called.

I spoke with Elizabeth Fernandez, communications director for the district, who failed to congratulate me on my Spanish-comprehension skills but passed along a written transcript of the phone call, in English:

This morning, while students were outside for play day, an adult happened to see a handgun tucked in the waistband of a man's pants. The man with the gun is a family friend of a student and does not live in Mesquite. The person who saw the gun reported it to a staff member who then notified the principal. Police were called immediately to the scene.While waiting for police to arrive, staff moved students into their classrooms. Police arrested the man, and the whole incident was handled very discreetly so as not to alarm students, staff and parents. After the man was removed from the campus, play day went on as normal. It is a federal crime to carry a firearm on school property. MISD is grateful for family members who are alert to potential dangers and help us keep our students safe.

Hey, let's cut the guy some slack. I mean, who hasn't strolled into an elementary school or airport or federal courthouse and -- oops! -- forgotten about the pistol sticking out of our pants? Anyone?

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson