Two pre-teens walked into Scotia-Glenville Middle School on Wednesday morning with a handful of bullets.
There were five rounds and no firearm to use them. According to Scotia-Glenville Central School District spokesman Robert Hanlon, it was a pretty simple case of childhood foolishness.
“They were going to use the bullets in an experiment,” he said. “They were going to try to set them off outside after school by hitting them against the ground.”
But the two kids, whose names were not released, didn’t manage to keep the illicit goods in their lockers a secret. Another student saw the five bullets and reported them to school authorities.
“The five bullets were recovered and secured within minutes of the report,” according to an official letter on the school website written by Middle School Principal Robert Cosmer shortly after the incident.
The police were called in immediately to question students and faculty.
The two students were suspended for five days and will appear at a disciplinary hearing before Superintendent Susan M. Swartz sometime this week. The school code of conduct, established after the Columbine school shooting, prohibits any “instrument, material or substance that can cause physical injury” on school premises.
Swartz is legally allowed to enact any discipline from an extension of the students’ current five-day suspension to full expulsion.
“We will not tolerate actions that jeopardize the safety of individuals here at school,” Cosmer’s letter went on to say. “The district will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, including the possibility of police charges, if someone threatens the safety of others.”
Hanlon said the superintendent could arguably make what he called “the hard decision” based upon school gun legislation, but said such action was unlikely.
“The question really comes down to whether we count bullets as firearms,” he said, “which I don’t think we do.”
The kids were essentially “goofing around,” if with dangerous items, and weren’t intending to hurt anyone he said.
Wednesday’s incident was the first time in Hanlon’s 20 years at Scotia-Glenville that bullets have been reported in the school.
“We’ve had a few knives reported and one kid brought a make-believe bomb once,” he said, “but it turned out to be a battery with wires on it.”
On average, he said, it’s a very safe school, mainly because of student character.
“Our students know the difference between right and wrong and tell an adult when they see something wrong,” he said. “These kids came in bragging about what they had in their lockers and before they knew it the cops were there.”
For that reason, he said, the incident will not prompt any additional security such as metal detectors.
A Shenendehowa High School student was also caught bringing ammunition to class recently.
Shenendehowa Central School District spokeswoman Kelly DeFeciani said the building was locked down for a short time following a report Thursday.
One bullet was recovered and determined not to be a threat to students. Even so, the student will be disciplined.