A Columbia High School student was taken into police custody this afternoon after bringing an “airsoft” gun and kitchen-style knife to school, according to police.
Principal Elizabeth Aaron and Acting School Superintendent Jim Memoli reported that the student taken into custody will not be returning to Columbia High School.
In a letter to parents, Aaron and Memoli also explained the Code Yellow procedure that was put in place this afternoon (see below).
According to Wikipedia, “Airsoft guns are replica firearms, or a special type of air guns … that fire spherical projectiles of many different materials, including (but not limited to) plastic, aluminum, and biodegradable material. This is achieved by a technical solution of either: compressed gas. spring-driven piston.”
The website parenthood.com reports that “Airsoft guns shoot lightweight plastic BBs that rarely cause serious injury if the recommended face protection is worn, but can put out an eye or chip a tooth if it isn’t.”
According to Aaron and Memoli, the student was “already with school administrators” when the “information came to the CHS administrative team that a student might be in possession of a weapon at school.”
From the Maplewood Police Department:
On 06/04/15 at approximately 2:48 PM, Maplewood Police Officers responded to Columbia High School for a report of a student armed with a handgun. The school was placed in a shelter in place status until a determination was made that it was safe to resume normal operation.
An air soft gun and a kitchen style knife were subsequently recovered from a 15 year old 9th grade male student who was taken into custody as a result of the incident. At this time, there is no indication there is a threat to students attending the school and\or school staff. Charges are pending investigation and no further details are available at this time. As a precautionary measure, additional patrols will be assigned to the area of the school.
From CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron:
Dear CHS Community:
Earlier today information came to the CHS administrative team that a student might be in possession of a weapon at school. That student was already with school administrators.
At approximately 2:40, based on information already known, CHS Principal Aaron and her staff followed district emergency management procedures and state guidelines to place the school in a shelter-in-place “Code Yellow”. A “Code Yellow” allows teachers and students to continue instruction while an incident is investigated. The Maplewood Police fully investigated the incident and the officer in charge authorized release from the shelter-in-place at approximately 3:15 pm. After-school activities continued as scheduled.
Because this is an ongoing police investigation, we are not at liberty to give you specific information about what happened. We are also constrained by legal privacy considerations regarding how much information we can share about our students. We are, however, able to share the Maplewood Police Press Release, which is attached to this letter. We are also authorized to inform you that the person associated with the events referred to in this press release will not be returning to Columbia High School
The CHS administrative team is grateful for the swift and competent work of the Maplewood Police Department and for the Columbia students and staff who handled the “Code Yellow” as has been practiced in school safety drills.
James Memoli Elizabeth Aaron
Acting Superintendent Principal of Columbia High School