GREEN BAY – Brown County prosecutors say they don’t expect to file charges against a teen that brought a pellet gun to East High School early Monday.
No one was hurt in the incident. But the school had to be evacuated, classes were canceled and two people were arrested. Only one case was referred to the district attorney’s office.
Prosecutors say the 15-year-old boy in the case brought the pellet gun to school and put it in a locker when someone saw it. District Attorney David Lasee tells FOX 11 when the school went on lockdown; the teen came forward and told authorities where the pellet gun was.
Police had referred a charge of misdemeanor disorderly conduct. While Lasee says his office is still reviewing the case, he says he doubts charges will be filed. Lasee says a pellet gun is not considered a firearm, which could carry a more serious charge. He says he has no answer as to why the teen brought the pellet gun to school.
School back in session
With school back in session Tuesday, some summer schooler students believe if a student was able to get a weapon in the school once, “it most likely will happen again,” said 17-year-old Samantha Rodriguez before walking in to the school for her social studies class.
Despite Rodriguez’s belief that this isn’t the last time someone will try to bring a weapon into her school; she says she’s in safe hands.
“I feel safe because there’s – like – good people here that would help you and all that, but it’s still like, you don’t know who’s the one that has a gun.”
Seriousness not lost on district officials
School district officials say it’s not just the district’s job to keep students safe, in schools, during the summer, but parents also play a role, like in this case.
“The fact that the parent notified something, went on her instinct and immediately called the police department, there’s no piece of equipment, there’s no device that you can put in place to replace that,” said Al Behnke, “That’s the human element that we need to rely upon.”
Behnke is in charge of facilities, operations and safety at Green Bay public schools. Behnke says the district has already met with police and school staff several times since Monday morning. He says the district is working with police to figure out what parts of the response went well, what didn’t, and how to improve summer school safety.
“Shouldn’t the district be proactive in addressing these security issues, instead of being reactive to an incident like Monday’s?” asked FOX 11’s Bill Miston.
“I wouldn’t say that we’re reactive,” Behnke replied, “I think we’re actually we’re being prudent in reviewing the steps and, again, after an incident that was about as real as it can get, happen, I think it was important for us to sit down and talk about what went well, could it have gone better and how do we learn from this?”
Behnke says the district cannot prevent every incident from happening, but takes the most sensible precautions possible.
“I think the thing that people need to take some comfort in – and to be reminded of is that it’s the human element that’s going to prevent stuff like this from happening,” he said. “It’s not a metal detector, it’s not razor wire, it’s not bars on the window, it’s that connection with kids.”
A parent’s connection, Behnke says, that led to Monday’s safe results.