Grade 11 student arrested after reports of a pistol spotted
An Amherst Regional High School student was arrested Tuesday after students reported seeing him with a gun on school property.
The Grade 11 male, age 17, whose identity was not released, was apprehended without incident after students told school officials they saw what looked like a pistol.
Firearm scare at ARHS
AMHERST - A 17-year-old Amherst Regional High School student will appear in youth court today to face weapons charges after a firearms scare at the school on Tuesday.
The Grade 11 student, whose name is protected by the Youth Justice Act, was apprehended without incident after students told school officials they saw what looked like a handgun.
"Shortly after noon several students became aware that a student was carrying what looked like a gun in his backpack," Chignecto-Central Regional School Board spokesperson Scott Milner said. "The student was located, the police were called and he was removed from the school."
The gun turned out to be a life-like pellet handgun. There were no injuries and the gun was not discharged. The student has been suspended from classes until further notice in accordance with the school board's disciplinary policy.
"This is a very serious situation that could have been a lot worse," Milner said. "I have to applaud those students who came forward and reported seeing the gun. It took a lot of courage."
Students were given a note to take home explaining what happened.
The incident comes less than a month after a gunman killed 33 people including himself at Virginia Tech in the United States. It also comes a couple of weeks after a 16-year-old student at Bridgetown Regional High School fired a toy cap gun and made references to the Virginia Tech shootings.
Milner admitted everyone, including students and staff, are on edge following the Virginia Tech incident, which may explain why the incident was reported to staff so quickly.
"Everyone's senses are heightened because of what they have seen in the media about what happened there," Milner said. "You don't want to connect this with what happened there, but you have to anything like this seriously."
Amherst police chief Charles Rushton said his officers were quick to respond to the school upon receiving the report.
Officers responding to the call could not tell the difference between the air gun and a real pistol and the chief suggested the ending could have been much different had the student not co-operated fully.
"There was reason and cause for students to be concerned because they wouldn't know if it was the real thing or a toy," the chief said. "The officers responding couldn't tell the difference."
Rushton said people who possess these guns should be well aware that they may be placing themselves or others in danger if they are used inappropriately.