SIDNEY — A Sidney High school freshman was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon after a loaded handgun was discovered in the student’s backpack.
According to Superintendent John Scheu, the 14-year-old freshman is being held at the Shelby County jail and is facing felony charges. At approximately 2:22 p.m., which was eight minutes prior to school’s dismissal, the student was taken into custody.
“One of our students received a text from another student,” said Scheu. The text said a student had shown a handgun in the classroom.
“The student (who had received the text) shared the text with the teacher and the two of them went to the office,” said Scheu. Administrators then changed protocol because it was near the end of the school day. Protocol would have been to announce a lockdown.
Instead, “the first responders at the school went around to each classroom and locked the doors,” Scheu said. “We didn’t announce a lockdown of the building because we were afraid the student might do something irrational.”
The teachers, said Scheu, received a text telling them to keep the students in class until they received further notice. The teachers then received an email giving them more information.
The school’s resource officer, Deputy Scott Atwood, along with administrators Doug Zimmer, Dan Barnes and John Willoughby, went to the classroom where the gun had been exhibited and evacuated all the students into the hallway. When the students were out of the room, they searched the belongings that students had left in the classroom and found the loaded gun in a backpack, said Scheu.
“Our dismissal bell is at 2:30 p.m.,” said Scheu. “It was after 2:20 when the administrators knew what was going on.
“The true heroes are the SRO and administrators,” said Scheu. “They walked into the classroom knowing there was a loaded gun in there, but they didn’t know which student had it.”
Scheu is also thankful that the student who received the text shared it with the teacher in the classroom.
“Our students are reminded and told to be involved with what’s going on around them. If they see something that’s not right, they need to tell a teacher. I’m relieved the student did share the text with the teacher,” he said.
Scheu said there was no indication that the student had shown anyone the gun prior to the incident at the end of the school day.
“There were no threats made during the day,” said Scheu.
The student is in custody in the Shelby County Jail and is facing multiple felony charges.
“We are in the initial stages of the investigation,” said Scheu. “There are some unanswered questions, such as where did the student get the gun?”
In addition to felony charges, the student faces suspension and possible expulsion from school.
“Due process steps will be taken,” said Scheu. “The student faces suspension and there will be a recommendation of expulsion. But that will be the least of the student’s worries since the student is facing multiple felony charges.”
Scheu said he didn’t know what charges the student might be facing or whether the student would be tried as a juvenile or an adult.
“Our staff acted quickly and efficiently,” said Scheu. “They put the plan that we have practiced into action today. No student was hurt. The student (with the gun) is in the Shelby County Jail. We handled this as efficiently as we had prepared for.”
Reach the writer at 938-538-4822.
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