(This story originally published November 8, 2005.)

Hesperia Unified School District police arrested two Hesperia High School students last Wednesday after a pistol was found in one student's backpack.

"Basically what happened was that a concerned student came in to Sgt. [Mike] Graham," Police Chief Bob Mosley said Friday. "He had knowledge that a student had a loaded firearm on school grounds."

School police spend time in the district's schools, maintaining a presence both to deter and respond to crime and to be there as a resource in case a student or employee needs to report an incident.

Two officers are based at Hesperia High School.

At the end of lunch period B, a student told Graham he had seen a student in possession of a gun.

Graham "located the individual and recovered a loaded firearm from the subject's backpack," Mosley said Friday. The .22 caliber revolver, loaded with six bullets, was recovered during fifth period, within 30 minutes of the gun being reported to Graham.

"Thank God for the majority of our kids, which are really ... they're good," Hesperia High School Principal Larry Porras said Friday. "I think 99 percent of our students want to be at a safe school. They want order. They want to learn. I really believe that."

What the student was doing with the gun is unknown.

"He was not informative, we're trying to find out. 'Why did you have a gun on school campus?' 'I was just holding it for another kid,'" Mosley recounted. "I don't think we'll actually know what the truth is, until the kids tell it to us."

"Who could explain why someone would do something so foolish?" Porras said. "These people, these kids, have been in the school system, even the freshmen, nine and a half years of school. They know -- they know -- what they're supposed to bring and not supposed to bring to school. ... I'm not one who's very patient with excuses."

The student had allegedly purchased the handgun from another student. Both have been placed under arrest. Names of the students are not being disclosed, as both are minors.

Hesperia public schools have a zero-tolerance policy towards guns in schools. Both students, if convicted, will be recommended for expulsion.

Although guns in school are a risk to students by definition, Mosley does not think the students were intending to use the weapon on classmates in the way two Colorado high school students did at Columbine High School in 1999. Thirteen people were killed in the Columbine massacre and 24 were wounded before the assailants turned their guns on themselves.

"It was one firearm, six rounds. [They] had no back-up rounds, no additional weapons. Columbine and those [sorts of incidents] go right out the window, because as you know, those folks were loaded for bear," he said. "We hope this was just an isolated incident."

A note detailing the incident, and signed by Porras, was sent home with students last Thursday.

"We've had several calls [from parents], a couple that were concerned about their child's safety. And we've gotten calls saying 'kudos to that kid, can we do something for that kid,'" Porras said. "I think we may do something internally, of course without fanfare.
"The student did what many others would do, I really believe that."

This is the first major gun incident in the Hesperia Unified School District in years. In April, a one-shot homemade "zip gun" was discovered in a student's possession at Lime Street Elementary School.

If you have any information on crimes on school property, contact the Hesperia Unified School District Police at 244-1091.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at beau@hesperiastar.com or by telephone at 956-7108.