Parents notified about toy gun incident at Pittsburgh school

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PITTSBURGH - Parents were notified Tuesday about an incident on a Pittsburgh Public Schools bus Friday afternoon involving a student and a toy gun.

Pittsburgh Public Schools released the following statement Tuesday regarding the incident at Pittsburgh Liberty:

“Parents of Pittsburgh Liberty will be notified today of an incident that occurred Friday afternoon on the school bus.

“According to student reports a fourth grade student discharged the toy pellet gun hitting another student in the book bag and leg.  

“The student was not injured and is in good condition. 

“The student claims to have received the toy gun from another student. 

“Upon further investigation, it was determined that the other Pittsburgh Liberty student had an airsoft pellet toy gun also, concluding that there were two toy guns in non-related incidents.

“The students in possession of the pellet guns, which is a violation of the District's Code of Student Conduct, face disciplinary action. 

“School police have also been on site at the school to investigate the origin of the toy gun of this incident.

“School Principal Mark McClinchie spoke with students today about the incident and the importance of notifying an adult if they hear or witness any student in possession of a weapon – toy or real.

"In Pittsburgh Public Schools, the safety of our students and staff is a top priority.

“As the 2014-2015 school year starts, we encourage parents to work in partnership with their child’s school to ensure students do not have access to items that can be considered a weapon and to check their child’s book bags before and after school.

“The guidance and direction families provide is absolutely critical as we work together to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for all students."


 

Below is the entire letter sent home to parents on Tuesday alerting them of the incident.

September 2, 2014

Dear Pittsburgh Liberty Families,

You are receiving this letter today to inform you of a serious incident that occurred after dismissal on a school van last Friday afternoon, August 29th. On Friday evening, I received a call informing me that a 4th grade Liberty student had an airsoft toy gun on the school van. The student fired the toy gun twice while on the bus. An airsoft pellet hit another student’s book bag and leg. Once aware of the situation, School Police were notified immediately and were on site at Liberty first thing this morning to investigate.

During the investigation, we learned that the student on the van and an additional Liberty student had in their possession airsoft pellet guns on Friday in their book bags. Both students showed the toy guns to other students on their bus rides home. Although airsoft pellet guns are non-lethal replica guns that shoot plastic pellets, they are considered a weapon. Each student will receive school-based disciplinary action as a result of these separate incident. 

At Pittsburgh Liberty, we are committed to sharing these types of incidents with you as the safety of our students and staff is always a top priority. I want to assure you that we are taking this issue very seriously. I personally spoke to all of the students involved or witness to each incident today, as well as speaking directly with their families. I also visited each class to stress the importance of each student’s role in keeping Liberty safe and immediately letting adults know if any type of weapon, even a toy gun, is brought to school or on a school vehicle at any point of the day. 

Occurrences such as this shed light on the critical importance of having an open dialogue with children regarding all weapons – toy or real. Please take a moment to talk with your child about the need to inform an adult anytime they witness a questionable situation at home or in school.  Please let them know that they play a vital role in keeping our school safe.  We also strongly encourage you to make sure that your children do not have access to any weapons and to check their book bags each evening and morning.  When a child brings a weapon, toy or real, to school, it is serious and regardless of intentions, we must comply with the law and the School District Code of Student Conduct.

We are asking for your assistance in keeping all of our students and staff safe.  The guidance and direction you provide as a parent/guardian is absolutely critical as we work together to provide a safe and healthy learning environment. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 412-529-8450.

Sincerely,

Mark McClinchie, Principal