Gun confiscated from student’s vehicle Monday at Mascenic Regional High School

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 05-09-2023 12:45 PM

A firearm was confiscated from a Mascenic Regional High School student’s vehicle on Monday morning, after the student reportedly brought it to school accidentally.

Superintendent Chris Martin said the student came to school with a rifle used for turkey-hunting.

“When we became aware, we called the New Ipswich Police for assistance, called the student’s family for their assistance, and the student was subsequently sent home,” Martin said.

According to Martin, from the moment the school became aware of the firearm, they were aware of its location and that it was secure.

“At no time was anyone in imminent danger,” Martin said.

Police responded to the school and conducted an investigation, and the firearm was voluntarily relinquished to police. New Ipswich Police Chief Michael Abel said the investigation didn’t find any “ill intent.”

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“There is no immediate safety concerns, and at this point, it seems like the incident is taken care of,” Abel said. “I do understand the concerns, but this is a situation where the system worked. There are safety protocols in place, everyone did what they were supposed to do, and it was found that there was no ill intent. The biggest thing to take away is that this was investigated, and there is no threat to the student body.”

Abel said there were no charges filed against the student, there is no intent to file charges at this time and that the school district will handle disciplining the student.

Martin declined to comment on the discipline that will be taken by the district, but said the school was not treating the incident lightly.

“We take matters of this nature very, very seriously,” she said. “We might not be able to give personal student information out, by law, but we are doing everything we can to ensure that something does not happen again. We are hyper-vigilant about this type of activity.”

By state law, under RSA 193:13, any pupil who brings or has a firearm in their possession a safe school zone – which includes all school property and school buses, not just school buildings – without written authorization from the superintendent or superintendent’s designee shall be expelled from school by the local school board for a period of not less than a year, during which time the student is also ineligible for enrollment in a school district in New Hampshire. Under the law, the local district or chartered public school may still provide educational services to the student in an alternative setting, but it is not required.

However, the law also requires schools to adopt policies that allow the superintendent or school director to modify the expulsion and enrollment requirements in such incidents on a case-by-case basis.

“This situation continues to evolve, meaning that we haven’t simply washed our hands of this,” Martin said. “We’re going to continue to look into this situation, and how to prevent something like this from happening again.”

Abel said that while there is no public threat in this case, students and staff should always come forward when they see or hear something that is not right.

“One of the more common slogans is, ‘See something, say something,’” Abel said. “With people coming forward with concerns, it gives the people that investigate these types of incidents a head start. No one wants to read a story later on where there was something that could have been done.”

Martin agreed, saying, “The concept of ‘See something, say something,’ is very important, and that’s what occurred yesterday, and we’re very grateful.”

Martin encouraged anyone with questions about the incident to contact Mascenic High Principal Elizabeth Pogorzelski or the SAU offices.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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