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'Concerning and shocking': Five separate instances of weapons brought to Midlands schools

In a two week span of October, there have been five separate instances of kids bringing weapons to Midlands public schools.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In October alone, there have been five separate instances of kids bringing weapons to schools across the Midlands.

One thing community members and law enforcement have agreed on: The violence has to stop. 

"When we saw there was another gun found on a school campus, it was extremely concerning and shocking,” DaQuana Stier told News19. Stier's siblings used to attend Richland County schools, but are now homeschooled after having issues with bullying.   

Another Richland County resident Fatai Ajao said, “no student should be bringing guns to school. I'm pro-second amendment but here’s the thing: Freedom comes with responsibility.”

RELATED: Fight erupts in gunfire outside Calhoun County High School game; no injuries

Richland County community members like Stier and Ajao said they’re worried about kids’ safety in schools.

Here's the timeline of incidents, according to police:

October 19: A loaded pistol was found in a 13-year-old student's backpack at Carolina Springs Middle School in Lexington County.

October 25: A 14-year-old brings a gun to Richland Northeast High School, two students are later charged in incident.

October 26: A Columbia High School student was arrested for bringing a knife to school.

October 27: A 14-year-old student at St. Andrews Middle School was arrested for bringing a loaded gun to school.

October 27: A 17-year-old fired a gun outside Calhoun County High School following a fight at the football game. Police say they were not a student.

"There is no reason why kids should be sitting in school and have fear or hear gunshots on campus,” said Stier.

RELATED: Student charged with bringing loaded handgun to Midlands school, says sheriff

Ajao added, "we have to do something.”

Deputy Doug Bowling, the Safety Security Coordinator for Kershaw County Schools, said that no school district is immune to these violence problems, "whether it be in South Carolina, or across the nation.”

That’s why Bowling asserted that proper staffing is so important.

“We have almost close to doubled our SRO (school resource officer) count in our district, and next year I think we're going to be positioned to have one SRO at every school, which is going to be a first for us here,” the deputy said.

Also important, according to Bowling, is gun safety at home.

“Keeping our guns locked and secured at home, keeping the ammo separated and making sure we talk to our kids about gun safety," are paramount said Bowling. He added that a lot of times kids don't understand that pulling the trigger is a life-altering, final decision.

RELATED: 'It's a half justice': Knowledge Sims' family wants everyone involved in his death held responsible

This year’s state budget allocated funding to the Department of Public Safety so every public school could have a resource officer.

One way Deputy Bowling suggests tackling this weapon issue on the student front is for schools to have a tip line, whether it be online or through an app. 

That way if a student needs help or knows something, they can tell school leadership and remain anonymous.

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