GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — No weapon was found in a Grand Rapids Public Schools high school, after an investigation into student's claim of seeing a gun in a student's waistband.
Late in the school day Monday, school administration was notified two students reported seeing another student with a gun in his waistband. The claim was this happened in a men's bathroom at Innovation Central High School between first and second hour. This is according to Larry Johnson, GRPS chief of staff and executive director of public safety.
"There were no threats made to anyone in the building or treats made at the building," said Johnson, "But the individual potentially had a weapon on his person."
Johnson said the students reported the weapon sighting to a teacher toward the end of the school day Monday. The teacher then notified administration, and school security contacted Grand Rapids Police Department and began the investigation.
Tuesday morning, an email was sent to parents about the reported weapon sighting. Students at Innovation Central also came to school to see a "random and unannounced weapon search," which included walking through a metal detector.
No weapon was found, whether related to the initial claim or otherwise.
"We have identified the the individual who we believe may have had a weapon on our campus," said Johnson "Our investigation is continuing, school disciplinary processes in place, and forwarding info to GRPS for any potential criminal investigation."
The student was suspended from school pending the outcome of disciplinary expulsion procedures. The investigation into the claim continues.
Johnson called the claim "a very serious incident." He congratulated the students who reported the weapon sighting.
He also wants parents to know it is safe to send their children to GRPS schools.
"I think schools are the safest place for kids," said Johnson, "In fact, the research shows that schools are safer than the home at times. And so, our schools are as safe as they can be. It's not an absolute. We know that. That there can be some disruption in a school, but we've done all we can, and we'll continue to do all we can, and do more, if necessary, to keep our kids and our family safe."
A parent of a student at the school, who did not want their name used, said they were "just really scared" when they received the email to parents from the school.
"It just is just concerning," said the parent, "Is it still in the school? They said that they didn't believe that it was in the school. It's just... with all the school shootings that have been going on, and the fact that this building is also under construction. So there's construction, people going in and out of doors and stuff, it just does not sit well with the safety of our kids."
Innovation Central is currently under construction.
The parent said they would like to hear from the superintendent or board of education on any plans moving forward to keep their kids safe at school.
"Given the fact that this is the world we live in these days, and the [shooting] that happened on the other side of the state, it's the reality," said the parent, "It's a scary thing for all of us parents. When we drop off our kids, we are handing our precious children over to an institution that we hope that has enough people working in it as well."
Anyone with information about this incident, or any others, is asked to call Silent Observer at (616)774-2345. Students can also give information anonymously by calling (855)5-OK2SAY.
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