Courts & Crime

Teen brings gun to school - snap decision, serious consequences

Ebony Shelley sits in a plastic chair, her state-issued black tennis shoes swinging over a cold floor.

Here, there’s no lush carpet, giant screen TV or a place to bake chocolate chip cookies for her grandmother.

She stares at concrete walls, contemplating why the very thing she thought would protect her ended up costing her.

Eleven months ago, the 16-year-old hid a loaded .38-caliber handgun in a blue bag and carried it into Howard High School.

A football player who had confronted her the day before would see it, she figured, and leave her alone.

“I didn’t plan to do nothing with it,” Ebony says. “I wish I would have kept that gun up under that sofa, went to school and came back home.

“It didn’t happen that way.”

Her home now is behind iron gates topped with barbed wire. She is one of 88 teen girls sentenced to the state’s only long-term female juvenile detention center, located in Macon.

With her mother’s permission and state Department of Juvenile Justice access, The Telegraph spent a day with Ebony Shelley at the Macon Regional Youth Development Campus, where she will be held until February.

What follows are her thoughts — in her own words — about what happened that November day when she carried a gun to school, and the consequences that followed.

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