Muslim leaders: Wash. Co. 5th-grader threatened Somali child with air gun

Minnesota Muslim leaders are calling for increased protection of Muslim students in state schools after they say an Afton-Lakeland Elementary fifth-grader tried to bring an air pistol to school after threatening to shoot a Somali-American third-grader.

According to the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the fifth-grader on Nov. 11 threatened to shoot the Somali student. On Nov. 14, the same fifth-grader attempted to bring an air pistol to school but a school bus driver intervened, confiscated the air pistol and called police.

"Thankfully, a major tragedy was averted by the quick action of the school bus driver," CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said in a statement.

"We are asking all school districts across the state to step up protection for Muslim and other minority students in the wake of this incident and because of the wave of racist and anti-Muslim incidents nationwide following the November 8 election."

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Afton-Lakeland Elementary in Lakeland is part of the Stillwater Area Public Schools.

"We had a situation earlier this month where a student brought an airsoft pistol on the bus. Due to data privacy, we cannot comment on the specifics of this issue," Carissa Keister, the district's community engagement manager, said in a statement.

"As demonstrated by the quick action of the bus driver, we take threats to any of our students very seriously, she added. "School administrators cooperated fully with local law enforcement to keep our students safe and resolve the matter without incident."

An airsoft gun commonly shoots plastic spheres using compressed air. The Washington County Sheriff's Office is investigating.