STRATHAM — Police say a student who brought a loaded handgun to the Cooperative Middle School Tuesday wanted to show a classmate the weapon, but had no criminal intent.
“At no time was the gun ever used in a threatening way,” Stratham Police Chief John Scippa said.
Just before 8 a.m., a teacher learned the student had brought the 9 mm handgun to school and left it in a locker, Scippa said. Police were immediately notified by Principal Bill Furbush; Scippa and police officer Mike Olivera responded to the school. They spoke to the student, who said he had the gun was in his locker, according to school officials. Police then confiscated the gun. The school was put on lockdown for just under an hour.
School District Superintendent Mike Morgan said in a prepared statement that the student’s name isn’t being released and school officials will follow appropriate disciplinary procedures.
“Upon investigation, it was determined that the student had no ill intent whatsoever but simply wanted to show a classmate that he had easy access to weapons,” Morgan said in an email.
Scippa praised school administrators and faculty for “perfectly following” the school’s safety plan.
“The staff responded wonderfully,” he said.
Some parents who arrived after school to pick up their children said they were upset by the incident, but grateful for the way it was handled by the school.
“I think the school did as good a job as they could,” said parent Anita DiNitto, who learned of the incident while she was on a break from work in Exeter.
Parent Tina Morales also praised the school for alerting parents through emails and phone calls of the situation as soon as the incident became known.
“I think they did a good job in letting everybody know at the same time,’ Morales said.
She added that unfortunately such incidents are becoming too common.
The student could be expelled for up to a year.