By Rick Palsgrove
For the second time in less than a month, a gun was found on a student at Groveport Madison High School.
According to Groveport Police Lt. Josh Short, on Nov. 9 officers arrested an 18-year-old male student who was in possession of a loaded SCCY 9mm hand gun.
Earlier, on Oct. 24, a 16-year-old male student was found in possession of a loaded Glock 19 – 9mm handgun at the school. That student was charged with illegal weapon or dangerous ordnance in a school safety zone, a fifth degree felony, and he was transported to Franklin County Juvenile Detention, according to the Groveport Police.
Regarding the Nov. 9 arrest, Short said school officials had received a tip that the 18-year-old suspect was in possession of a gun at school and the school resource officer went with school security and administrative staff to remove the suspect from class.
“At that time the suspect refused to listen to staff or the officer and quickly walked from the building and out to the front driveway,” said Short. “School Resource Officer Boso called for assistance from patrol officers and continued to follow suspect out toward Hamilton Road. As the suspect reached the south driveway, patrol officers arrived and approached suspect who immediately dropped his backpack and complied with officers’ orders. The gun was found in suspect’s backpack.”
When asked why did the suspect brought the gun to school, Short replied, “During his interview he told officers he brought the gun to school for protection.”
Short said the 18-year-old suspect was charged and jailed for illegal conveyance of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance in a school safety zone, a fifth degree felony.
Short said, for the most part, issues like this incident start at home.
“If parents/guardians are engaged with their children they can better monitor their activity and help them find safer and more appropriate ways to handle neighborhood problems,” said Short. “When young people have no parental over site or mature adult guidance they often become societal problems.”
Short said when such issues are communicated to Groveport Madison school staff they do their best to navigate through the situation and maintain a safe school environment.
“Over the past decade I have personally seen a switch for school administrators working on educational issues to dealing almost exclusively with discipline and safety problems,” said Short. “We want to encourage our community to continue letting school staff or law enforcement know when there is credible information about guns at our schools or and other school safety concerns. Our last two gun arrests at the high school have come from information received from concerned district residents. We could not do this without the community support.”
Short added the Groveport Police will meet with officials from Madison Township Police and Fire and the Groveport Madison school district to discuss the recent gun issues at the school as well as other school safety topics.
“Local law enforcement has a great relationship with Groveport Madison Schools and we are in regular communication about improving school safety,” said Short. “The district regularly asks for our input on how to improve and aggressively encourages officer presence on campuses as a regular daily activity. Public safety is a shared responsibility. This isn’t a just a school district or law enforcement job – it takes a family, a neighborhood, a community.”