East High student arrested after officer finds gun in locker

08/22/2012 5:00 AM

08/22/2012 4:16 PM

An East High student was arrested after a gun was found in his locker, police said Wednesday.

A school security guard received an anonymous tip shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday that the student had a gun, Lt. Joe Schroeder said. The guard informed the school resource officer, who checked the student’s locker and found the concealed weapon.

The 16-year-old student, who is a junior, was removed from class and arrested, Schroeder said.

Police also found ammunition for the student’s pistol, but Schroeder said he did not know whether the ammunition was in the locker or in the student’s possession at the time he was arrested.

“I just know he had ammo and a pistol at school,” Schroeder said in an e-mail response to questions.

Susan Arensman, spokeswoman for the Wichita school district, said “there were no threats made nor did the student indicate having any trouble with anyone.”

“The investigation happened while students were already in class and caused no disruption to the school day,” she said in an e-mail. “The student will face disciplinary action.”

The district’s policy on weapons in schools requires a yearlong expulsion for anyone caught with a firearm or replica firearm at school or at a school-supervised activity.

As part of the enrollment process, each student and his or her parent or guardian are required to sign a form acknowledging that they have read and understand the policy, Arensman said.

Parents of East High students were not notified of the discovered weapon or subsequent arrest.

“The principal makes the decision” of whether to notify families, and “each situation is looked at differently,” Arensman said in an e-mail Wednesday.

Ken Thiessen, principal at East, said he decided not to inform students, staff or parents about the incident because officials handled it quickly and quietly.

“Basically it comes down to: Where’s the disruption?” Thiessen said. “In this situation we had no disruption, no commotion, no threats. Very few people knew about it. … In the absence of all that, I just decided it’s going to be more disruptive for us to go out there and tell everybody about it.

“In reality, we’ve had situations where two students were upset with each other in the hallway, and that created three or four times as much disruption as this” weapons violation, he said.

“Obviously, we don’t inform parents of every disruption we have in the building. That’s the rationale. … That’s the level of what we thought needed to take place.”

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