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Authorities say student joked he had gun on Hall bus
Chestatee High student taken into custody
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Authorities responded Feb. 16, 2018, to a report of a student with a gun on a Hall County bus in the area of Dawsonville Highway near Gainesville Marina. - photo by Nick Bowman

Law enforcement approaches a Hall County school bus after the driver reported a student had a gun

Local law enforcement can be heard warning students to put their hands out of the bus’ windows on Friday, Feb. 16, as they approach the vehicle. Officers approached with weapons drawn after they received a report that a student on the bus claimed he had a gun — though he never did, a fact officers discovered after students were searched. The student, who is not being named by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, said he was joking when he said he had a firearm. Video courtesy of witness Mike Lisk.

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A 16-year-old student on a Hall County bus was arrested Friday after school officials say he joked about having a gun.


The bus driver heard someone on the bus shout, “He has a gun,” and then called the Hall County bus shop a little after 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, while on Dawsonville Highway in the area of Gainesville Marina. The bus shop subsequently called 911, Hall County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks wrote in a news release.


Law enforcement responded and removed every student from the bus, searching each for a weapon, Schofield said.


“Investigators responded to the scene and were able to determine that the incident was in fact a hoax perpetrated by a 16-year-old male student,” Wilbanks said.


The student, who attends Chestatee High, then said he was “just kidding,” Superintendent Will Schofield said.


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Students wait in Hall County School District bus 1703 after a student on board jokingly claimed to have a gun on Friday, prompting the driver to call the police. Law enforcement stopped traffic on Dawsonville Highway as they responded to the bus parked near Marina Drive in Gainesville.

“At no time were the students in danger,” school system spokesman Gordon Higgins said in an email. “Once the search was complete, the bus continued on the route, which was around 4:45 p.m.”


Parents of other students on the bus, No. 1703, were notified of the incident, and an email is being sent to all Hall County students and parents informing them of what occured.


“I just want to stress that a well-trained bus driver did exactly what she needed to,” Schofield said.


Wilbanks said the teenager was arrested and taken to the Regional Youth Detention Center. He faces charges of disorderly conduct, disrupting operation of a public school bus and simple assault.

Chestatee High Principal Suzanne Jarrard was on the scene and assisted in having students contact parents, Higgins said.

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Hall County School District bus 1703, at left, sits parked on Friday off of Dawsonville Highway after a bus driver called in a report of a student with a gun on the bus, but after police responded and searched students on the bus the child said he was just joking.
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