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Editorial

Communication was key at ConVal

A loaded gun in student hands at ConVal High School last week is a disturbing thought. However, quick response from fellow students, teachers, administrators and police brought the situation quickly to a safe conclusion. There is particularly much to praise when it comes to communication and transparency. And it began with the students who reported to a teacher that another student had showed them a handgun. The teacher alerted administrators who in turn called police.

Once the situation was in hand, with police seizing the gun and escorting the 14-year-old student out of the school, ConVal High School Principal Brian Pickering and Supt. Brendan Minnihan went to work on drafting a memo to the school community about the incident, which was read to students in their classrooms before the end of the school day. Parents were notified by an Alert Now automated phone message. Shortly after 3 p.m., Pickering informed them of what had happened, assuring parents that everyone was safe.

Good communication ensured the proper steps to safeguard the school were implemented, and we thank all of the people who were involved. Students were escorted away from the classroom where the 14-year-old boy was, and that part of the building was cordoned off while administrators waited for police to arrive.

The situation begs the question of whether having a school resource officer on-site, something voters have opposed, would have changed anything. But it seems the emergency response was timely and unfolded without any major hiccups.

This is the first instance of a student with a gun at ConVal since the Newtown shootings rocked the entire country in December 2012, and we trust ConVal officials — and those at our other local school districts as well — are taking this opportunity to review how this incident last week was handled and how such incidents can unfold. We expect communication will continue as administrators share insights with each other, police and perhaps even officials in other school districts. We hope students and parents will be kept in the loop as well because, as this situation so aptly demonstrated, it’s those on the frontlines who often hear things first.

In a letter to the editor in today’s edition, Sarah Franklin of Dublin notes the learning opportunity for students that the incident presents. She’s right. We hope parents and teachers will heed her call.

We’re grateful no one was hurt Wednesday. It doesn’t sound as though there was any malicious intent in this case, but we hope it will serve as another stark reminder about how seriously guns on school grounds are taken.

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