District won’t detail outcome of gun hearing

PETERBOROUGH — ConVal School District officials stopped short of confirming that a student who brought a loaded handgun to ConVal High School last week has been expelled. But they did say they have followed school district policies and state law regarding student discipline — both of which call for an expulsion of at least one year.

“We can’t talk about a specific decision as it relates to a specific student,” Assistant Superintendent Kimberly Saunders said on Monday. “We can say that we followed our policies.”

Saunders and Superintendent Brendan Minnihan confirmed that the student is not attending ConVal, but said they were unable to discuss the outcome of a Discipline Review Committee meeting held on Friday, citing the need to respect the privacy rights of the student under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Police were called to the high school on Oct. 23 after a teacher reported that students had indicated another student had a gun. Police then entered a classroom, seized the gun and placed the student in custody, taking him to the police station. Under New Hampshire law, the student, who lives in Peterborough, is being treated as a juvenile. He was released to the custody of his parents and the case remains under investigation by Peterborough police.

RSA 193:13, the state law regarding expulsion of students, states that a student who brings a firearm into a safe school zone without written authorization from the school superintendent or designee “shall be expelled from school by the local school board for a period of not less than 12 months.”

ConVal’s policy JICI, dangerous weapons on school property, states that any student who is determined to have brought a firearm to school will be expelled for not less than one year.”

Minnihan said Friday’s Discipline Review Committee hearing was held because the administration, based on the school policy and state law, had made a recommendation of expulsion. A student who has been expelled from a public school is unable to attend any other public school in the state, Minnihan said.

Minnihan declined to comment on the circumstances of the incident.

In a statement released on the day the incident occurred, Peterborough Police Chief Scott Guinard wrote, “At this time, police have no information that the student had threatened anyone, brandished the firearm, acted aggressively or overtly.”

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