CHICAGO — Charges have been filed after a gun discharged in a student’s backpack and injured a second grader at a school on the North Side.

According to the Chicago Fire Department, a 7-year-old suffered a graze wound at Walt Disney Magnet School around 11 a.m. Tuesday and was transported to Lurie Children’s Hospital in good condition.

An email from the school to parents said a gun was discharged on school grounds in a backpack, hit the floor, caused damage and released debris.

No charges have been filed against the second grade child who brought the gun to school, but the child’s mother, Tatanina Kelly, 28, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.

Kelly is scheduled in court Wednesday.

According to the email, police responded quickly and confiscated the gun. School officials said they are working closely with the CPS Office of Safety and Security to make a safety plan moving forward.

Many parents told WGN News they were alarmed by the discovery.

“I couldn’t breathe,” parent Jennifer Uribe said. “I drove down Halsted doing about 50 (mph) saying a prayer.”

Many Disney parents decidedly pulled their children out of school as a precaution with other parents lamenting the proliferation of guns across Chicago.  

“This is something terrible that is happening in our city,” said one woman. “We want to get to the bottom of it.”

Read the full email sent to parents:

Dear Disney Community,

I would like to acknowledge how incredibly challenging today was for all of us. As a parent, staff member, or community member of the school, the news received was emotionally difficult. The safety of our students and stakeholders is the top priority and today’s event certainly jeopardized our sense of safety. As the leader of this school, I will do everything in my power to support our children, staff, and families. We will work diligently to learn from this experience and will strive to rebuild the sense of safety that was jeopardized today.

My goal in this communication is to provide more details about today’s incident (much information was inaccurate from the media), to explain the support that will be offered tomorrow, and to share with you some action steps that we are taking after today’s incident.

I would like to share with our community additional details on the communication that I sent out earlier today about a gun being accidentally discharged in one of our classrooms. Please know that a separate letter has been sent to the parents of the children in this specific classroom. If your child was in this classroom, you would have been notified. First off, we are incredibly thankful that no one was seriously hurt. When the gun from the backpack was accidentally discharged into the ground, some debris ricocheted in the classroom. Some of this debris hit a member of our school community, which caused minor scrapes, and our school nurse assessed the member of this classroom to ensure they were okay. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, and an ambulance arrived at the school as an extra precaution. Throughout the day Disney staff, Chicago Public Schools staff, and CPD worked diligently and successfully to make the safety of your child a top priority. We ensured the specific issue was taken care of immediately and that the building was analyzed as safe for your child. If you have any more questions about the incident, please reach out to me directly.

This evening, teachers will be provided support and resources on how to speak about this incident with your child. Our administrators, counselors, social workers, and staff will be available for your children to provide them support socially and emotionally. Individuals from the District’s Safety and Security, Crisis Team, and Social and Emotional Support team will be present.

This Thursday (5/19) at 5:30PM, we will host an in-person Town Hall.  The purpose will be to have an opportunity to share feelings and concerns about the incident and to come up with actionable ways to incorporate feedback that you have. Individuals will sit in tables, will collaborate as a team, and will present their ideas to the group. We will then work to follow through on these action steps. If you are interested in attending this Town Hall, please sign up on this link:

Please know that your child will be welcomed to a safe environment tomorrow. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate in reaching out to our team. We are here for your child, for you, and for the Disney Community.


Paul Riskus