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Old February 28th, 2007, 12:18   #30
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Wed, February 28, 2007

Pellets shot in school
Male student suspended

A student at a junior high in Oakbank has been suspended indefinitely for shooting two other students with a soft air pellet gun.

The shooting occurred in the multi-purpose room at Springfield Middle School before classes began last Friday.

Duane Brothers, superintendent of Sunrise School Division, said a male student brought the gun to school and shot two fellow students with soft plastic pellets.

The first boy was hit in the arm -- and apparently wasn't sure he'd been hit -- while the second boy was hit in the face after the pellet ricocheted off a wall, said Brothers.

He noted that neither hit drew blood or caused any serious damage.

The boys were all known to each other, said Brothers.

Staff stepped in and called the boy's parents and RCMP.

"Weapons of any kind are totally unacceptable in our schools," said Brothers.

The shooter has been handed a "Level 3 suspension," meaning he will be off school until division officials meet with his parents.

Mounties say no charges have been laid and it's not likely that any will be. The gun has been returned to the boy's parents.

Soft air guns fire soft plastic pellets, but not at a high enough velocity to be considered legal firearms. They're often used for target practice or in war games -- similar to paintball, but without the paint.

Cheaper clear models, like the one used in this incident, cost between $25 and $200.


"We have a policy -- we won't sell them to anyone under 18 -- and I know a lot of other stores do, too," said Terry Robinson, general manager of S.I.R.

He said soft air guns are "very popular."

The more expensive models, used mainly for the airsoft sport, resemble real guns and their purchase is regulated by airsoft associations, said Ed Matheson, president of the Manitoba Airsoft Association.

Matheson said incidents like this don't give his sport, which has 300 to 400 players in Manitoba, a bad name.

"That's not a real airsoft gun. They're not associated with us at all. It's just a kid bringing a toy gun to school," he said.

"That's exactly why the distributors regulate their sale. We don't want any idiot going out and doing what this kid did."
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