ConVal student with gun expelled

Boy, 14, won’t be allowed to return for 365 days

PETERBOROUGH — A 14-year-old ConVal High School student who brought a loaded gun to the school on Wednesday has been expelled from school for a year.

“There is a law that when a student brings a weapon to school, a 365-day expulsion is required,” ConVal Principal Brian Pickering said on Monday. “That said, there are protocols. Parents can request a hearing before the School Board. That hasn’t happened yet. The student is not in school.”

Police were called to the school at about 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, after administrators were notified of a 14-year-old male student with a handgun. An administrator and a school counselor went to the classroom and, when students left as classes were changing, the 14-year-old was asked to remain in class. Police then entered the classroom, seized the gun and placed the boy, who lives in Peterborough, in police custody, taking him to the police station.

Under New Hampshire law, the student is being treated as a juvenile and he was released to the custody of his parents.

In a statement released last week, Peterborough Police Chief Scott Guinard wrote that police had no information to indicate that the student had threatened anyone or brandished the gun. He said the case is under investigation and police expect to file charges. No additional information was available from police on Monday.

Pickering said the case is the first of its type he has dealt with in his 25 year career in education. He said ConVal students were notified at the end of the last class block on Wednesday, when teachers in each classroom read aloud a message about the incident prepared by Pickering and School Supt. Brendan Minnihan.

Parents were notified through the school’s Alert Now system, which is used to send an automated phone message. Pickering said the messages are sent to the phone numbers that parents indicate on a form at the start of the school year. He said it’s an effective system for getting out a message quickly.

“It happened late on Wednesday,” Pickering said. “We wanted parents to know. Had they gotten home and not been delivered a message, the social media might have taken off even more.”

Pickering was unsure whether any students would have received the Alert Now message, but he said they would have if their cell phone numbers were on the school’s list.

Pickering said the first indication that the student might have a gun came from other students, who told a teacher. He said both students and teachers acted quickly and responsibly. A previously scheduled parent meeting the day after the incident drew about 30 people, he said, and the majority of the feedback about the school’s response and communication was favorable.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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