After gun confiscated from Onslow school, system responds to concerns over recent violence

Recent incidents at Onslow schools have raised questions about what OCS is doing to prevent such incidents.

Parents are concerned after a firearm was confiscated from Jacksonville Commons Middle School on February 10, preceding another recent bout of violence involving schools in Onslow County.

A message sent to parents on the evening of February 10 indicated that one of the school’s teachers had become aware of a firearm on campus and immediately informed the school’s administrators and resource manager. The weapon was later confiscated without incident, according to the message.

“In cooperation with law enforcement, it has been determined that this was an isolated incident and that the weapon was not brought to campus with the intent to harm others,” it said. Principal Curtis Ehmann’s message. “No JCMS student or staff were threatened or harmed in any way.”

Onslow County Schools Communications Director Brent Anderson declined to elaborate on the incident, saying only that schools and district administrators continue to work with the Jacksonville Police Department in their investigation. and that appropriate disciplinary action had been taken by the school.

If a student brings a firearm or destructive device onto school property or at a school-sponsored event, OCS Board policy and state law dictate that he should be suspended for 365 days. However, Anderson did not say whether it was a student who brought the gun to campus.

“OCS and Jacksonville Commons Middle School take this kind of incident very seriously and behavior like this will not be tolerated,” Anderson said.

After: Middle school student brings unloaded gun to school, incident under investigation

A concerned person contacted The Daily News and was frustrated as to why there was no lockdown drill and why the incident was explained to parents as ‘no threat’. The person also questioned the fact that the message was not sent to the parents until 5:45 p.m.

The incident preceded an episode of violence that took place at Jacksonville High School’s basketball game against Northside on Friday, Feb. 11, when a fight broke out.

Anderson said the first line of defense in keeping guns out of schools is for parents who have them to keep them safe and secure where they aren’t easily accessible.

“Parents should also discuss this incident with their children and emphasize the importance of not bringing weapons of any kind to school,” Anderson said.

The Jacksonville Police Department is also working to prevent these incidents from happening. Jacksonville Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Michael Yaniero said early intervention is key to addressing potential violent behavior and providing students with appropriate treatment. That’s why they created threat assessment teams several years ago.

Anderson also said school staff and school resource officers are an important part of the solution, saying they constantly monitor hallways, common areas and other areas of the school for signs. inappropriate behavior.

He added that they are also reaching out to students, which can make it easier to share information if they see something going on.

“Students play an important role in preventing this kind of situation,” Anderson said. “If students hear of or see a weapon, they should immediately notify a staff member, parent or other responsible adult. This can be done in person or through the district’s anonymous online reporting system. “

After: ENC schools set up an anonymous reporting system

Yaniero also said another way to prevent guns in schools is to establish active shooting plans and practice those plans with their community partners.

“Planning and preparation are key to ensuring an effective response if an incident of gun violence occurs on school property,” Yaniero said.

Yaniero said JPD continues to work with its partners at OCS, community members and the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office to “ensure our schools are a safe haven for our most precious resource, our children”.

“OCS is committed to ensuring the safety and education of all of our students,” Anderson said. “We would like to stress that it is necessary for all of us – students, parents and staff – to work together to keep our schools safe.”

Journalist Morgan Starling can be reached at [email protected]

This article originally appeared on The Daily News: Confiscated gun at Onslow school sparks more questions and concerns

Jeremy S. McLain