Airsoft gun found in student’s bag at Wycallis Elementary School in Dallas School District

By Eileen Godin - | February 5th, 2016 1:41 pm

By Eileen Godin

DALLAS TWP. — A Wycallis Elementary student is suspended pending an informal hearing for bringing an airsoft gun to school Wednesday.

Discovery of the pellet gun occurred when a child’s “family contacted the school, asking for the student’s bag to be checked for a cell phone that was missing from the home,” Thomas Duffy, superintendent of the Dallas School District.

According to district policy, the student was escorted to the office with the bag to have it searched for the device, Duffy said.

Wycallis Elementary School Principal Brian Bradshaw found and confiscated the airsoft gun.

“It was determined it was an airsoft gun in a matter of seconds,” Duffy said.

Airsoft guns are designed to shoot small plastic beads or other types of round projectiles using a mix of propane and silicone, compressed air or an electric motor pulling piston system to fire. Airsoft guns resemble firearms in appearance but are designed to be non-lethal.

The district’s zero-tolerance policy prohibits students from bringing any weapons, including any look-a-likes or replicas, to school, Duffy said.

Many Dallas School District families received a call about the incident Thursday.

The delay in informing families was to ensure school administrators had time to collect and review all incident details, Duffy said.

Under districts procedures, several steps must happen, Duffy said.

In this type of situation, the first goal for the principal is to calm down the student and inform his or her parents, he said.

“Contacting parents is not always a quick process,” he said.

Maintaining the student’s confidentiality and calmness throughout the school building is second, Duffy said. Wycallis Elementary School in Dallas Township houses nearly 530 students from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Staff members and other students who may have known about the airsoft gun are interviewed. Then, school administrators review all information.

“I feel like the procedures were followed and the situation was well handled,” Duffy said.

The student, whose identity remains confidential, and his or her parents will have an informal hearing with school administrators and staff before a final determination is made regarding expulsion or external suspension.

“The student is entitled to due process,” Duffy said.

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.