Apparent gun found in BL student’s backpack not functional

EAST LIVERPOOL — Police were dispatched to the Beaver Local Schools complex on Bell School Road Friday afternoon after administrators discovered a student had what appeared to be a pistol in a backpack, but St. Clair Township Police Chief Brian McKenzie emphasized there was never any danger to the student body or anyone else during the incident.

“They were not sure if it was a real gun and our guys responded, spoke to administrators and found out it was a non-functioning starter pistol,” McKenzie said. He emphasized, “It was exactly that – non-functioning. He was showing it to kids. At no time at any point do we or the administration feel anyone was in any danger.”

There was no ammunition or anything associated with a projectile in the student’s possession, McKenzie said.

McKenzie said his detectives have been in contact with Superintendent Eric Lowe and the juvenile prosecutor to discuss what, if any, charges would be suitable for this type of incident, stressing that the school district has a zero tolerance policy against weapons brought to school.

“We will work with the administration and juvenile prosecutor to determine what should be done,” he said. The chief said, “The matter was taken seriously until it was determined it was a non-functioning gun. The school administration did exactly as it should have done.”

His department immediately put a message on its Facebook page to let the public know officers were responding to a call at the school that posed no danger, and the school district also posted a message on its Facebook page, alerting the public, as well as putting out an all-call to parents.

“We put a message out on Facebook because we knew it was going to be making the rounds of social media,” McKenzie said.

The starter pistol was taken to the police station, where the middle school student was also transported for an interview by detectives.

There was no evacuation or lock down of the school, McKenzie noted.