Dowagiac Middle School student arrested for bringing gun to campus

Published 2:48 pm Monday, August 29, 2022

DOWAGIAC — A Dowagiac Middle School student was arrested Monday for bringing a gun to school, according to Dowagiac Union Schools Superintendent Jonathan Whan.

In a newsletter to parents, guardians and community members, at approximately 10 a.m. Monday, the DMS School Resource Officer received a call from a County Deputy advising him to interview a Middle School student regarding a possible safety concern due to a search of the student’s bedroom. That search happened due to concerns expressed by the guardian around 9:45 a.m. Monday. Dr. Sean Wightman, DMS principal, and the SRO went to the classroom and escorted the student to the office. 

In the office, an interview and a search were conducted with the deputy, SRO and principal being present. The student was found to be in possession of an unloaded small caliber (.22) handgun. No ammunition was found. The student was arrested and the district will follow its disciplinary policy in working with the student and family involved. 

“This is an example of the positive partnership between law enforcement, the district, and our community,” Whan said in the newsletter. “When the community member had a concern, they immediately did the right thing, notified the Sheriff’s department, and positive action was taken. Then our process and procedures were implemented, and the situation has been dealt with.”

The district acknowledged that if a student is in possession of a weapon, school policy calls for the immediate expulsion of that student. School leaders encouraged parents to talk with their children about the importance of not joking about or bringing any type of object to school that may be perceived to be a weapon. 

“We take safety very seriously,” Whan said. “While students may bring an object to school to impress friends, there are immediate consequences. It is important for parents and guardians to have ongoing conversations with their children so that they know regardless of circumstances, the school must investigate and take appropriate disciplinary action.”

School officials noted the importance of parents continuing to encourage students to talk with a teacher, staff member, or parent if they have a concern. 

“School safety begins with strong positive relationships and ensuring that if students see something or have a concern, they feel free to say something to administration or any staff member,” Whan said.

Since this is an ongoing criminal investigation, if members of the public have questions or further information, they are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Department. 

“We appreciate the support of our community, the Dowagiac Police Department, and the Cass Co. Sheriff’s Department in dealing with and moving forward from this difficult situation,” Whan said.