Harrisonburg High Gun Incident

By: Kelly Creswell Email
By: Kelly Creswell Email

A Harrisonburg High School student is being held at a juvenile detention center after police say he pulled a gun on a classmate at school.

The incident happened in the school's locker room on December 28, during the school's winter recess. Police say they didn't know about it until several residents told them this past weekend.

After hearing from concerned citizens, Harrisonburg Police and the high school started separate investigations, which led up to obtaining an arrest warrant for a 17-year-old student.

School Superintendent Don Ford says there is no specific school policy for notifying students or parents about weapon incidents in the school.

"I certainly believe that if there are particular students who are threatened in some way that it is very appropriate to let those parents know of the incident," says Ford.

Ford says if there is an incident that doesn't seem to be a threat to the whole student body, an announcement might not go out.

He says, "Then apart from trying to control rumors, there's really not a whole lot of advantage to making announcements."

But a concerned parent, who heard about the incident from her son who goes to Harrisonburg High School, says she wished she could've known what was going on.

"He heard from other kids that someone here had a gun and my son had been threatened in the past by some kids with a gun, too. So that's why it concerned me even more," says parent Ronnet Passarelli.

While the juvenile will face legal repercussions, Ford says he could also face expulsion.

"We will do what's appropriate with this or in any situation that arises regarding weapons and would hope that parents can be reassured that we are going to do what's necessary to keep our schools safe," says Ford.

Police are still trying to look into why it took so long for them to be notified about this incident. The 17-year-old already had a detention hearing Wednesday.

The student will be at the detention center until a trial scheduled for February 5. Ford says that during winter recess, when any student is inside the school, there is always parental supervision as well.

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