Norwich police: Juvenile brought BB gun onto school property

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Norwich — Police say a Teachers' Memorial Middle School student is facing charges after bringing an unloaded BB gun on school property Wednesday.

In a statement issued to parents and staff, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kristen Stringfellow said officials immediately contacted police after receiving the initial report of a weapon on the afternoon bus. By the time of the report, students had already left the bus, which was empty and cleared by police after a search.

Sgt. Nick Rankin said police received initial reports just prior to 4 p.m. Rankin said at least one report came from a parent after students got home and included a photo that another student may have taken of the weapon, which was "made to look like a black semi-automatic pistol."

Police quickly identified the student who allegedly brought the BB gun onto the bus and executed a search of the juvenile's home, with Rankin noting that everybody involved "was cooperative and apologetic."

"No threats were made. Everybody was safe," Rankin added. He noted that state law bars possession of a weapon, including firearms such as pellet, BB and air guns, on school grounds, property or school-sponsored events.

Police said Wednesday night that they had seized the BB gun and charged the youth with second-degree breach of peace, possession of a weapon on school grounds and carrying a dangerous weapon. In the new release announcing the charges, police said, "We would like to commend the bravery of the student who brought this forward and praise the diligence of school faculty and staff."

The incident prompted the district to cancel the school's open house planned for Wednesday evening. Officials also requested police presence at the school on Thursday morning. The district posted a notice on its Facebook account and also issued a Robocall to parents.

"We take any report of a possible weapon extremely seriously," Stringfellow wrote in the statement to parents and staff. "All students and faculty remain safe."

In a follow-up statement, Stringfellow noted that, "It is important to remember that if you see or hear of any potential threat, that you notify the police and school immediately. The safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance to us."

Day Staff Writer Claire Bessette contributed to this report.

b.kail@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version has been updated with charges after a news release from police.

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