Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics and Science School’s Gentilly campus was placed on lockdown Tuesday after an 11-year-old student allegedly was discovered with an unloaded gun.

School spokeswoman Heather Harper said the charter school “was briefly on lockdown after it was discovered a student brought an unloaded gun to the campus.”

“The school is no longer on lockdown and police are currently investigating,” she wrote in an emailed statement.

New Orleans Police Department spokesman Gary Scheets confirmed the incident.

“The juvenile was taken into custody by NOPD and delivered to the Orleans Parish Juvenile Detention Center,” Scheets said. “He is charged with illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile and possession of a firearm in a firearm-free zone.”

Baby Ben, as the school is commonly known, has two campuses. The incident occurred at the prekindergarten through fifth grade campus on Chatham Drive.

The school’s handbook says “students are taught and given practice opportunities for emergency procedures regarding: fire alarms, severe weather, evacuation, reverse evacuation, lock down and shelter in place.”

The school said all students and staff will be dismissed at the normal time.

This story was updated with information from the New Orleans Police Department. 

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...