Lincoln police investigate after finding loaded gun at elementary school
LINCOLN, Nebraska (Nebraska). Lincoln police are currently investigating how fifth grade elementary school student Prescott gained access to a loaded handgun after an officer found it in a school backpack on Friday.
Lincoln Public Schools Principal Dr. Paul Gausman said a student approached an employee at Prescott Elementary around noon and reported that another student showed them a gun and made “relevant comments about violence” to them.
Gausman said staff immediately took the backpack to the school office and called the police, who found a loaded gun inside.
“These professionals continue to build positive relationships, and today it really keeps us safe,” Gausman said. “This student was brave enough to come forward and tell their teacher what they saw.”
Gausman said that when the police arrived, the officers questioned both the students and their parents. Gausman said at the time that he could not comment on how the child got their hands on the gun or what their motives were because the investigation was ongoing. He said the student who brought the gun would face legal consequences.
Gausman said that because the situation was resolved within minutes, they did not have to use any of their standard response protocols, meaning the school day was not disrupted even though police were present during the day.
“I was very happy when I entered the building and saw that every police officer who was there is responsible and they are fulfilling this responsibility. And they reacted exactly the way we would like,” Gausman said.
He said employees were trained to deal with such situations, and they acted exactly as they were taught, “with a level-headed and calm attitude.”
“No matter how many situations I have experienced, even in almost 20 years as a school principal, each situation is absolutely unique,” Gausman said. “And there are several different aspects to it. And in every situation that you face, there’s some aspect that you can’t, you see, necessarily prepare for. But in this particular case, the staff followed their training. And this training immediately put everyone in this building in a safe position. And it really was instantaneous. And it allowed us to continue this day.”
As for the next steps, Gausman said they are going to offer support to the student who reported the threat and to anyone who needs it. The District also encourages anyone who sees or hears anything relevant to the case, whether it be a student, employee, parent, or community member, to report it.
“Today, by the end of the day, our students were safe because of the relationship our staff had with students, and also because one very brave student came forward and reported,” Gausman said. “Something they weren’t even sure about, something they heard that was worrying. This is what we ask people to do. You don’t need to check it yourself. To report it, you just have to hear it, please report it. We’ll see it through to the end.”
The LPS website has a link to report problems anonymously.
Gausman said at the end of the day that they were just glad that the student came forward and that the staff acted the way they did.
“It is because of this that we have a much more pleasant conversation than today,” Gausman said. “Neither the superintendent, nor any of the staff, nor any of the families wants to even talk about this subject. But, frankly, we can have this specific conversation today because we have plans, the protocol that we have, and they worked today, our staff did what they were supposed to do.”
Prescott Principal J.J. Wilkins emailed the families:
“We know it’s about the news. We are very proud of the student who reported safety concerns to his teacher when he felt in danger. It is the important work of our staff at Prescott in building trust with our students that has led to the resolution of this serious situation without harming anyone. We are grateful to the Lincoln Police for their prompt response and their continued cooperation in keeping our students and staff safe.”
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