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New London student disciplined over having BB gun at school

By Colin A. Young

Publication: The Day

Published March 19. 2014 4:00AM

New London - A New London High School student has been disciplined after being found last week in possession of a BB gun at the school, district officials said Tuesday.

"A student came up to Officer Max Bertsch and reported to him that he had heard another student bragging about having brought a gun into school and that he wanted to shoot some other kids and then he specifically threatened a staff member," Superintendent Nicholas A. Fischer said Tuesday.

Bertsch, a New London police officer and the high school's resource officer, and school administrators immediately began investigating the claim and found a student in possession of a BB gun. Though it was not a firearm, Fischer said, the weapon looked "very much like a pistol."

"We took it very seriously, and followed up with appropriate disciplinary actions," he said.

Fischer declined to disclose the student's gender or grade, and also declined to discuss the nature of the disciplinary action.

The Board of Education's policy related to weapons categorizes a BB gun as a dangerous weapon, as it is defined in state law. The board's policy stipulates that any student found to be in possession of such a weapon is subject to a suspension of up to 10 days, possible referral to law enforcement agencies and the possibility of an expulsion hearing.

"We take any comments like this extremely seriously and we always do a thorough investigation of the comment, the event and then track down what happened," Fischer said. "We take all steps required under the law and then conduct extensive follow-up with our students."

The students, like the one who reported the threats he overheard last week, are the school system's best deterrent of any dangerous or threatening behavior, Fischer said.

"The kids are our best metal detectors," he said. "They are amazing at letting us know when they think there are dangerous things about to happen at a school because they don't like it."

c.young@theday.com

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