In order to prevent the tragedy of another mass school shooting, Marshanice Mackey called the police on her son Derek Burton, 18, after he threatened to shoot up his high school after a dispute with his girlfriend.
Mackey made the call on Wednesday (May 23) after Burton left home and she realized her gun was missing. Her son had also mentioned he was suicidal. Though he rarely went to school, classes were canceled at Belleville East and Belleville West, the high schools within the district the 18-year-old was enrolled.
According to a report by Fox 2, after being apprehended the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Burton with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful use of a firearm by a person under 21 and felony disorderly conduct tied to a threat made against a person at a school. The teen was caught at his girlfriend’s home, but the gun was not in his possession.
His mother said she knew she had to call the authorities so the lives of the 4,800 students and faculty that attend the schools and that of her son would be spared.
“You cannot take things lightly. I want every parent across the country, across the world, to never have to experience what I just experienced this very second. This is just tragic to me,” Mackey said to the news network. “There is no way possible that I would’ve known that my son was in a situation that he was in and I did not report this; absolutely, positively not.”
She explained the difficulty of having to report your child and why most parts do not do it. “You know, that’s why we have a lot of school shootings,” Mackey told KSDK. “Because a lot of parents don’t agree that we need to set certain structures for their children, or, ‘That’s my son, so I’m not going to call the police on them because I don’t want them to get caught up in the system,’ let that happen. That’s not going to be the case with me.”
Mackey was present when the district attorney read off the charges against Burton. She advised parents to always be by their children’s side. “I need parents to understand: watch your kids closely. Don’t take for granted that your kids are not doing XYZ, be there to support them by any means necessary.”
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.