LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Only four days into the 2022-23 school year, a gun was found at Pleasure Ridge Park High School. The two students who passed the gun between them were suspended, according to Jefferson County Public Schools.

It was one of 15 guns found during the first 68 days of the school year — from August through late-November — at high schools including Western, Moore, Ballard, Seneca and Fern Creek.

The number of guns found in JCPS schools so far this year is about on par with the 16 found during the same period in 2021, according to district data produced in response to an open records request from WDRB News.

Ten firearms were found during the same period in 2019, while none were found during the fall of 2020 when the district was conducting virtual instruction.

Made with Flourish

In a statement, JCPS said the widespread availability of guns in the Louisville area is not a problem specific to the school district.

"The gun epidemic is a community problem that, like so many issues in our city, impacts Jefferson County Public Schools," spokeswoman Carolyn Callahan said. "JCPS has strong safety protocols in place to safely identify and remove guns that are brought into our schools. Our students, staff and families play a vital role in keeping our schools safe.

"The reality is, until lawmakers and community members work together to address the prevalence and access to guns, there will continue to be instances of guns in our grocery stores, churches, government offices —  everywhere people congregate — including schools."

So, what happens when schools discover guns on campus?

Most of the students caught with guns get an out-of-school suspension; a few had parent/guardian conferences or student conferences and one student was sent to the Jefferson Regional Juvenile Detention Center in the 2019-20 school year, according to records obtained by WDRB News.

In one case in August 2021, JCPS officials returned a gun to a parent after the student brought it to Iroquois High School. Officials found it after checking his backpack because he smelled like marijuana, according to previous WDRB reporting. The student admitted he stole the 9mm Ruger from his father, and officials handed it over to the parents. 

Louisville Metro Police weren't notified about the incident. 

On Jan. 6, the principal at Seneca High School said a student brought a gun to school. It's at least the second gun found at Seneca this school year. Another was found in August.

Made with Flourish

Copyright 2023 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

If you have information about a story you think the WDRB Investigates Team should look into, you can email investigate@wdrb.com or call the WDRB Investigates line at 502-322-1297.