Pequenakonck Elementary School student brings bullet to school
A Pequenakonck Elementary School student was removed from school Friday after bringing a bullet into the building.
Around 9:00 a.m. Friday, staff was alerted that the student had a bullet and that they had shown it to some of their classmates. Staff immediately advised School Resource Officer Sean Armstrong, who responded to PQ from the High School/Middle School campus. Armstrong met with administrators and other district staff to obtain information, share information and begin an investigation.
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Kieran O’Leary, director of public information for the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, told the North Salem Post that Armstrong checked with the Westchester County Police Pistol Licensing Unit and with New York State officials to determine whether there were any indications of legally possessed weapons in the student’s home. In addition, PO Armstrong interviewed one of the student’s parents and he and another WCPD officer then made a visit to the student’s home.
“The priority in any safety/security-related incident is to determine whether there is any imminent threat to a school or any students or staff there,” O’Leary explained.
O’Leary said that it was determined that “no weapons were in the household, that the student did not have access to any weapons or other ammunition, and that there was no ongoing threat to the PQ school community.”
A PQ student who had been shown the bullet by the student said, “I was confused why they had it, and a little scared.”
O’Leary said that officers learned that the student had found the bullet a few years ago and kept it as an item of interest. “It appears the student apparently brought it to school because they thought classmates might find it interesting as well.”
“Due to the swift actions of the PQ staff and our partnership with the Westchester County Police Department, the situation was resolved rapidly and thoroughly without further incident,” Pequenakonck principal Dr. Roy Martin wrote in an email sent to families Friday afternoon. The email did not specify the nature of the incident but referred to it as “a potential safety issue.”
O’Leary said, “we do want parents in all districts where we serve to know that the full resources of the WCPD are instantly available if necessary to investigate or respond to a school-related threat or incident. An SRO or supervisor can request other officers or detectives to assist in quickly gathering information and conducting a fuller Threat Assessment process. A school may have a single WCPD SRO, but any and all WCPD assets will be utilized if needed to keep that school safe.”
North Salem Central School District superintendent Dr. Ken Freeston told the North Salem Post, “our safety protocols were followed, no one was in danger, and we are grateful for the swift response by Sean [Armstrong] and other WCPD officers.”
“We do not do any of this work in a silo,” O’Leary added. “The administrators and staff in the districts where we serve are always our partners in handling safety/security-related incidents. We work together to resolve these matters effectively and collaboratively. We are grateful for the partnerships and working relationships we have in the districts where we serve, including in North Salem.”
While not deemed an issue in this situation, O’Leary shared that the advice for all persons who own weapons is to “secure them safely – either in a gun safe or with a trigger-locking device. Children are innately curious so we always encourage parents/guardians to take significant precautions to safeguard all weapons and to discuss with their children that they should not handle or access any weapon without the approval and supervision of their parent/guardian.” O’Leary added that many gun owners with children in their household keep their weapons unloaded and secure those weapons and ammunition separately as an additional precaution.