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Ogden school officials warn of pellet guns after girl hit in eye in attack

By Tim Vandenack - | Mar 29, 2022

Photo supplied, Ogden School District

Examples of the sort of airsoft and pellet guns increasingly used in apparent attacks by school students on one another, promoted via social media as part of a new trend. An Ogden girl sustained an eye injury in an attack on March 16, 2022, says her father.

OGDEN — An uptick in kids bringing nonlethal pellet guns to school — paralleling an apparent trend across the country — has Ogden School District officials admonishing parents and students to keep such devices at home, outside schools.

“Please understand that this is not a joke. Absolutely no guns are allowed at school. This includes airsoft guns, BB guns, pellet guns, Orbeez guns or any other toy gun,” the district said in a message to students last Friday that was also forwarded to parents.

The father of a girl hit in the eye in an attack in Ogden last week apparently involving one of the guns is also speaking out. News reports have popped up across the country in recent weeks of similar sorts of incidents, promoted by users on social media channels like TikTok. “At an absolute minimum, it’s aggressive harassment,” Nathan Litz said Monday.

Litz’s daughter was walking with a friend along 30th Street in east Ogden a little after 3 p.m. last Wednesday when she was targeted by a passing group apparently using some sort of pellet gun. She felt a sting in her back, an apparent pellet shot, turned around and was struck again in the eye by a pellet of some sort, causing intense pain and bleeding.

The girl’s friend caught a glimpse of a car speeding off, apparently carrying those involved in the incident, with someone inside the vehicle holding something. “They were in a car and drove by and did this,” Litz said.

Later, a doctor said it appeared Litz’s daughter had been struck by a metal projectile of some sort. The Litz family reported the incident to the Ogden Police Department, and Ogden school officials and school reps responded on Friday with the announcement read to kids in grades 5-12 and the message to parents about airsoft guns, BB guns, pellet guns and other such guns.

Jer Bates, the school district spokesman, said there have been “a handful” of instances of students bringing such guns to schools in the last few weeks, though he knows of no attacks on school grounds. The district also sent a warning to parents on March 14 on the same issue, calling on parents to speak to their kids in a bid to keep guns out of school.

Though pellet guns, Orbeez guns that fire a gel ball and other such guns don’t have the power of a traditional gun that fires bullets, they can cause damage. Moreover, the guns, though many have an orange tip, can often look like traditional guns, causing alarm.

“Just a reminder to parents — it will not be tolerated. … The way we look at it — you brought a weapon to school,” Bates said. Students who bring such devices to school can be suspended or expelled and even face charges.

Ogden police didn’t immediately respond to a query on Monday seeking comment, but Litz said police are investigating the attack on his daughter. He also said since going public with what happened, other Ogden parents have reached out to him to say their kids have also been the target of air gun or pellet guns attacks, though without the sort of injury that Litz’s daughter sustained.

In speaking out, Litz hopes to prevent incidents like the one that left his daughter injured. He also hopes the culprit or culprits involved can be identified.

“It’s not harmless. It can, at a minimum, leave some welts and bruises,” Litz said. His daughter has been seeing eye specialists and so far seems to be on the mend.

Ogden school officials, for their part, want parents to discuss the message read to students last Friday with their kids. “Please help us keep our schools and students safe. We encourage you to read the message and talk with your children about the importance of personal accountability and making good choices,” the letter to families reads.

Last September, Mount Ogden Junior High School officials sent a message to parents warning about the “devious licks” challenge promoted via TikTok. Participants in the challenge — teenage students, mainly — would swipe something from their schools, sometimes causing considerable damage, then post video of the haul or action on TikTok.

“We need parents to step up because kids will do stupid stuff,” Litz said.


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