Student surrenders BB gun without incident Friday

Published 9:49 am Monday, October 22, 2018

NILES — Niles Community Schools district authorities apprehended a BB gun from a student late Friday afternoon. The weapon was retrieved without incident, and the student was cooperative throughout the process, according to Superintendent Dan Applegate.

To inform parents of the situation, Adam Burtsfield, the principal of Ring Lardner Middle School, sent out a phone message, followed by a safety letter that explained what had happened and how staff followed protocol.

Burtsfield said that the weapon was discovered following a tip. This prompted the suspected student’s belongings and locker to be searched, which led to the retrieval of the BB gun. Having the weapon on campus was a violation of the district’s code of ethics and is regarded as a serious offense, Burtsfield said in the safety letter.

Burtsfield commended those who came forward with the information and said it is paramount to student and staff safety.

“As parents, we urge you to maintain an ongoing dialogue with your children and emphasize the seriousness of situations like these — including the potential of criminal charges,” he said. “Additionally, [I] stress the importance of reporting any suspicious behavior to a staff member.”

Applegate said the student did not make any threats with the weapon and worked cooperatively with those involved to turn it over.

Applegate said staff followed the appropriate protocol in response to the situation.

“Obviously this was a violation of code of conduct, and we are going to take that seriously,” Applegate said.

Applegate added that the school did not have to be evacuated for this procedure.

Random bag checks are completed on occasion and Applegate said a situation such as this could call for school officials to increase these checks.

Burtsfield reminded parents and students alike that they can report information using

OK2SAY, a cellphone and online service which anyone can use to report tips on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees, or schools.

Tips can be submitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week by texting 652729 (OK2SAY) or calling 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729). Those with questions and concerns were asked to call the school.