South Hadley middle schooler brought unloaded BB gun to school

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Staff Writer
Published: 2/5/2020 1:53:54 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — A student at Michael E. Smith Middle School is facing disciplinary action after bringing an unloaded BB gun to school Monday.

“Unfortunately, a middle schooler made a poor decision and brought a BB gun to school,” Superintendent Diana Bonneville wrote in an email to parents and guardians.

School officials discovered the BB gun after “a student reported overhearing the middle schooler bragging about being in possession of the BB gun, responded appropriately, and reported it to a teacher,” according to Bonneville. Administrators and a school resource officer immediately confiscated the gun.

The student’s parents soon arrived at the school as well, and the student will be disciplined in accordance with the district’s code of conduct guidelines, according to Bonneville, who also spoke about the incident at Monday night’s School Committee meeting.

The school district’s student handbook states that possession of a dangerous weapon “such as a gun, knife or other articles which may be determined to be dangerous” results in a “10-day external suspension from all classes and school activities until an expulsion hearing is held” for a first offense. The violation is also reported to police.

“The situation was handled quickly, professionally and efficiently without adding unnecessary anxiety to the student body,” Bonneville wrote in the email.

The district attorney also will be pressing charges, according to Bonneville. A spokeswoman for the Northwestern district attorney’s office declined to provide further details or confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

Michael E. Smith Middle School interim Principal David Gallagher also sent an email to parents and guardians, stating that the BB gun was discovered soon after the school day began.

“At no time were any students or staff in any type of danger,” Gallagher stated, adding that he and Bonneville “are working to ensure that it does not happen again.”

School officials will debrief the district’s crisis and care management team and implement threat assessment protocols, Bonneville said.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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