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Student searched for vape had gun instead, officials say

Freshman School incident prompts expanded security
Posted at 4:00 PM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 16:15:16-05

HAMILTON — School officials searching a ninth-grader for vape found a .25-caliber handgun on him instead, the Journal-News reported.

Police said the gun found on the 16-year-old at Hamilton Freshman School Wednesday morning was reported stolen from a Hamilton residence in early November, and the burglary remains under investigation.

The student was charged with “illegal conveyance” and “possession of a deadly weapon at school." He remains in custody at Butler County Juvenile Detention Center.

”The search happened because the student was believed to have been using a vape, which is a cigarette alternative, school officials said.

A school district news release said it will add two school resource officers starting Jan. 7, when students return from winter break. That will bring the total to seven for the district’s 13 school buildings.

The district also plans to expand use of random metal-detecting wands, mostly in schools with the higher grades, as students enter schools in the morning as a deterrent for students taking weapons into the buildings. Such wands have been used at football games and other school events.

According to a letter sent to parents and guardians of the school’s students, school officials “immediately put the student in the custody of our (Hamilton Police) School Resource Officer (SRO) and standard safety procedures were conducted that resulted in the removal of the weapon and student from the building within minutes of the discovery.”

After that, police and school officials determined “there was no other viable threat present and no lockdown was deemed necessary,” according to the letter, signed by Nancy Hulshuit, the school’s principal. “The school resumed on our regular schedule.”

Hulshuit encouraged parents to continue stressing the importance of school safety to their children and report anything that may be a threat.

The school district in a news release credited planning and “the constant use of safety drills” played a role in the situation’s quick resolution.

The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO 9 On Your Side.