, Salem, MA

January 25, 2014

Lie about handgun puts Ipswich middle school in 'lock-in' mode


---- — IPSWICH — A middle-school student made up a story that another student brought a handgun to school two weeks ago, a tall tale that put the school into “lock-in” mode yesterday morning and resulted in the juvenile who lied being arrested, police and the superintendent said in statements.

“In this case we are pleased to report that at no time was there a threat to students or staff,” said a message from Superintendent William Hart posted on Facebook. No weapon was ever found, officials said. Police and the schools have not released the identity of the student.

Police said the allegation that a middle-school student brought a handgun into school two weeks ago was reported to the Ipswich school resource officer and the administration yesterday at the start of school.

“I am happy to inform you that after a full and thorough investigation the middle-school student that made the claim confessed to fabricating the allegation,” Hart said in the message. “Additionally, disciplinary action will be taken by school administration.”

Police, in cooperation with the Essex County District Attorney’s office, arrested the juvenile involved, police said.

The allegation a handgun was brought to school was not taken lightly by police or school officials.

“The school was put into a ‘lock in’ status to facilitate a search of lockers,” police said. The school at 130 High St. contains grades six, seven and eight, and is part of a complex that includes Ipswich High.

Both the middle school and the student’s home were searched and student interviews were conducted.

“During interviews with the reporting student, the student admitted to fabricating the entire allegation,” Hart and police said in their statements.

“The safety and security of the entire school community remains a high priority,” Hart said. “We will continue to take any allegations of school safety seriously. In this case we are pleased to report that at no time was there a threat to students or staff.”

Emails and calls seeking further information from Hart were not returned as of press time.