Student brings gun to Malibu High, faces expulsion and imprisonment

A student who brought a pistol to school Tuesday faces expulsion from all schools in the district for a year and, possibly, time in custody.

The boy brought the pistol to Malibu High School Tuesday morning, principal Michael Matthews announced. He was intercepted when he returned to campus after hiding the gun at a friend’s house. He admitted to bringing the weapon to school, and he led Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station deputies to the hiding place

The youth is in custody at the Lost Hills Sheriffs Station and will be recommended for expulsion, Matthews said in a letter to parents. [See below].

Bringing a “weapon” or “dangerous object” to school is grounds for automatic expulsion, according to the California Education Code, Matthews said in a telephone interview. He will recommend to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District that the boy be expelled from all schools in the district for a year.

But the boy faces an even graver penalty from criminal charges. According to Dep. Mark Borges of the Lost Hills Station Juvenile Intervention Team, the boy is charged with Penal Code Section 626.9, “Possession of firearms in public schools, universities and community colleges.” Under that law, the youth could be in state prison for two, three or five years. He was at Sylmar Juvenile Hall Tuesday, Borges said.

Letter from Principal Mike Matthews

Dear Parents,

I am writing to inform you about an incident on our campus today [Oct. 5]. My hunch is that you will be hearing about it from your children, and I would rather give you direct information about the incident than have you question the different versions and rumors that will inevitably occur.

A student in high school brought a pistol to campus this morning. This pistol had one bullet in it. He showed it to two students during first period, and several students reported it to the office at the beginning of second period. At this point we brought in the Juvenile Intervention Team from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station. We learned that the student left campus after first period to get rid of the weapon. When the student returned to campus he was intercepted by one of our security officers. After extensive questioning from school and law enforcement officials, the student admitted he had brought the weapon to school, and he showed deputies the hiding place.

The student is now in custody at the Lost Hills Sheriffs Station and I will be recommending him for expulsion. I informed the staff immediately through a confidential memo, and at 1 p.m. I made an announcement to students explaining the situation to them.

This is my seventh year as principal of Malibu High School and this is the first incident of a gun on campus. In light of the tragic incidents at Littleton, Colo., and other high schools around the nation, we should all be highly concerned. We will be meeting as a staff on Friday to discuss the incident and what we learned from it.

In spite of the fear that such an incident provokes, I am pleased that we were able to deal with the situation quickly and effectively. Here are some thoughts you might want to discuss with your children at home.

  • When a frightening situation occurs, we can deal with it so much more effectively when it is reported to us immediately. The students who reported this incident deserve a great deal of credit for making the campus safe for everybody.
  • Our security officers, Milt Greene and Theresa Wallace, are outstanding people who know the students and the campus and are able to deal effectively with any situation.
  • Our assistant principals were also on top of things, working with students to find out as much information as possible.
  • The Juvenile Intervention Team from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station was here immediately and provided immense assistance in dealing with the situation.
  • The school is not afraid to share information with parents and students, even regarding a negative situation like this. Students and parents have a right to know and it is better to hear it from the school than to question the rumors that are being thrown around.

My primary objective at Malibu High School is to ensure student safety. I need everyone’s assistance in doing that. Today is a case where, working as a team together, we showed we can maintain a safe campus. I know that 1999 is a frightening time to be a student and a parent, but I also know that this is an extremely safe campus. Please call or e-mail me if you have any questions. I hope we can continue our efforts to reach every child emotionally and academically, and continue our efforts to make Malibu High School a safe and wonderful school.


Michael D. Matthews,


The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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