New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Officials: Student had gun in school, prompting lockdown

- By Meghan Friedmann meghan.friedmann@ hearstmedi­

HAMDEN — Police Tuesday arrested a Hamden High School student who brought a loaded gun to school, according to officials.

The school was placed on lockdown earler in the day in connection with the incident, officials said.

Superinten­dent of Schools Jody Goeler said administra­tors received a tip late Tuesday morning indicating the student was in possession of a firearm.

Security escorted the 17-year-old to the main office, police Detective Sean Dolan said in a statement.

The student then became uncooperat­ive and locked himself in a copier room, Goeler said. Administra­tors issued a “stay in place” order, he said.

“(The student) never moved from that room and he didn’t confront anybody,” Goeler said, adding there was no indication the student intended to use the gun at school.

Police were able to deescalate the situation, according to Dolan. They located a loaded .45-caliber handgun in the student’s backpack, he said.

An automated message sent to Hamden parents and obtained by the New Haven Register suggested a family member and mental health profession­als also helped deescalate the situation.

No one was injured in the incident, Dolan said Tuesday evening.

Police charged the student with carrying a pistol without a permit, possession of a weapon on school grounds, second-degree reckless endangerme­nt and breach of peace, per Dolan’s release, which indicates the student was taken to juvenile detention in Bridgeport.

Goeler said there was no evidence suggesting an ongoing threat to the school.

“Tomorrow we’ll have additional police presence at the school just to demonstrat­e to the community that the police are partnering with us to keep our students safe,” Goeler said.

The school has a crisis team in place to address events that may be traumatic for students, according to the superinten­dent.

A district safety team meets monthly to review safety protocols, he said. In this case, the Student Resource Officer was especially helpful, according to Goeler, who said the SRO is “outstandin­g and trained at deescalati­on skills.”

Goeler also said the district also participat­es in the “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System,” a Sandy Hook Promise initiative that allows students to anonymousl­y report concerns.

The most important safety measure, Goeler said, is having a community willing to share tips about possible security issues.

The student who brought the firearm to school will be expelled, he said, as “Bringing a weapon to school is a mandatory expulsion.”

The school sets up counseling, tutoring and other support programs for expelled students, sometimes coordinati­ng with the Juvenile Review Board, Goeler said.

The superinten­dent could not recall another case of a student possessing a firearm at school during his tenure.

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