October 13, 2006
By TINA A. BROWN, Courant Staff Writer
With the arrest Thursday of a Hartford student in an incident involving a loaded gun, Weaver High School students can expect a tougher response from school officials concerning students who bring weapons to school.
Before, students could expect to be searched sporadically with metal wand detectors. That will change today, said Principal Paul Stringer. He said he has asked his vice principals to assist the security staff during weapons searches, which will be done more often.
"We are taking everything seriously," Stringer said. "We are also getting some of these folks out of this building," he said, referring to students who chronically fail classes and don't regularly attend school. "They are certainly not taking their education seriously."
On Thursday, a 17-year-old who is a 10th-grader at Weaver was arrested and charged with carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a firearm and carrying weapons on school grounds, Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts said. A loaded .38-caliber handgun was found in a car parked in the student parking lot.
The gun was not taken into the school, police and school officials said.
School officials were told about 11:30 a.m. Thursday by more than one source - including a parent and students - that an 11th-grader had threatened a 10th-grader with a gun Wednesday night outside the school. No one was hurt, school officials said.
School security officers searched for the 11th-grader, and then sought the student's best friend - the 17-year-old - who took off out the front door. The 17-year-old went to a car parked in the student parking lot, officials said. Security officers kept him under surveillance and called police. That youth left the car and walked to the bus stop, where he was approached by security and police officers.
"[The 17-year-old] refused to come into the building," Stringer said, so the police went back to the gold-colored Honda and looked inside and saw the gun.
Stringer said the 11th-grader who he suspected was involved in the threatening incident with the 10th-grader Wednesday night had been searched earlier, before the gun was found in the car and the 17-year-old was arrested.
School policy dictates that students who are caught with weapons be arrested, suspended and referred to an expulsion hearing. Stringer declined to say what disciplinary action will take place in this case.
Stringer said he is meeting with parents of 18-year-old students who aren't coming to school or failing academically over a two- or three-year period. He is recommending to their parents that the students transfer into Job Corps and adult education programs.
"It's frustrating that they can do the things they do, and we are almost powerless, until they do something," Stringer said of gang members in his school.
Police said the investigation of Thursday's incident is ongoing. Roberts said he did not know if the incident was gang-related.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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