Two unrelated incidents in less than a week in which guns were found in two Fairfax County high schools will result in at least two students being recommended for expulsion, and charges being sought against at least one student, according to county police and school officials.
On Dec. 5, a loaded handgun was discovered in a student locker at Robinson Secondary School after police received a tip shortly after 7 a.m. that morning, according to police spokesman Don Gotthardt. Police said they received a tip that the weapon reportedly was in the locker of a 13-year-old female student.
The president of the Robinson PTSA, Dee Haas, later told The Washington Post that the girl, who reportedly was being bullied outside of school, had been given the handgun by another girl, who gave it to her in a gesture of friendship. The weapon was confiscated, no one was injured and there was no disruption of school classes, according to FCPS spokesman John Torre. The girl was not taken into custody and no juvenile petitions were immediately sought against her.
Robinson Principal Dan Meier later sent an email to parents about the incident.
“The students involved have been identified and questioned. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken in response to this very serious event,” he wrote. “We recognize the danger associated with any weapon in the school.”
Meier later wrote the following on the school’s website, “On occasion as a principal I have to deal with students who have made mistakes or exercised poor judgment. When doing so, I remind myself that I run an educational institution and not a penal institution. Like a parent, I use the consequences available to help our students learn from their mistakes and to grow as people.”
On Dec. 11, a juvenile male student at J.E.B. Stuart High School who allegedly was in possession of a BB gun was taken into custody for possessing it on school property.
Unlike the Robinson case, which involved an actual handgun loaded with live ammunition, police spokesman Bud Walker said petitions would be sought against the male juvenile for possessing the BB gun on school property.
“Although it was a BB gun, it was made to replicate a real firearm,” said Walker.
Walker said police were called to the Falls Church school at 11 a.m. after it had been locked down, or “sheltered in place,” meaning that students remained wherever they were, and were not permitted to leave or go to other classrooms until police gave the all-clear. A resource officer at the school called for the lockdown, according to Torre.
Walker said the teen was taken into custody and that no one was injured. Police left the school at 1:45 p.m. and classes were dismissed normally at 2:06 p.m.
“Fairfax Police did confiscate a BB gun that resembles an actual firearm in the possession of one of our students and that student was taken into police custody,” J.E.B Stuart Principal Prosperanta Calhoun later wrote in an email sent to parents.
Walker said the Stuart case still is under investigation and that other students still might be investigated. Police did not disclose why the boy was taken into custody, or if any threats had been made by him.
He eventually was released to the custody of his parents.
“Outside of any legal charges, the FCPS disciplinary policy treats both incidents the same way,” said Torre. “It calls for a 10-day suspension, and a recommendation for expulsion from the school for a year.”