A State College Area High School student brought a bullet to school on Wednesday and showed it to classmates. Although the high school’s resource officer found that no firearm was involved, a rumor of a gun in the school prompted a parent of another student to call 911, resulting in a 10-minute lockdown at the high school, according to the State College Area School District.
“Police officers immediately responded, and high school principals swiftly placed the school in lockdown,” a media release from the school district said. “This means that students were kept securely in place, and nobody was allowed to move throughout the building while the police and high school principals investigated.”
In a press conference held on Wednesday afternoon, State College Area School District Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said the district was not aware at the time that reports of a gun were only rumors.
“With what I understand at this point, I’m glad the principals made the decision to lock it down, because they didn’t have the information that we have now,” O’Donnell said. He said school staff and students responded according to policies and procedures.
O’Donnell said the school district tried to put out information as they were responding, while worried parents made a large number of calls to the school and rumors spread on social media.
“It was frustrating,” O’Donnell said. “We were trying simply to prioritize and not get pulled off the task at that point.”
O’Donnell added that the resource officer took the bullet from the student, and police believe it belongs to the student’s parents.
State College Police Chief John Gardner said police will continue to investigate and look for ways to improve the police response and the partnership with the school district where necessary. He encouraged students who see something to say something, no matter “how unimportant it may seem at the moment.”
“I think it’s better safe than sorry,” Gardner said. “And we’re going to continue to respond like that every time we hear something like that.”
Gardner said he believes the individuals who reported today did the right thing.
Superintendent O’Donnell said the school district will look into disciplinary actions for the student, since bringing a bullet to school is a weapon policy violation.