Wicomico Student Faces Gun Charges

SALISBURY – A Wicomico student faces weapons charges this week after bringing a loaded handgun onto school grounds.

On Tuesday afternoon, Wicomico County Board of Education staff and school resource deputies learned of a video circulating on social media showing a student armed with a pistol at James M. Bennett High School, according to a statement from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.

School system officials say the building was secured at 12:42 p.m. and returned to normal operations at 12:50 p.m. The student in the video was quickly identified, located and removed from the classroom.

“School administration was informed of the safety concern by a variety of people who had seen the video that was posted on social media,” the school system said in a statement this week. “Those who contacted the school administration in keeping with the practice of ‘if you see something, say something’ included students, parents and law enforcement.”

Further investigation revealed that the juvenile, age 14, was in possession of a loaded pistol hidden in the waistband of his pants, according to the sheriff’s office. A Juvenile Referral with the request for charges was forwarded to the Department of Juvenile Services, and the student was charged with wear/carry a handgun, handgun on school grounds, disruption of a learning environment and reckless endangerment.

“This incident is being handled in accordance with the Code of Conduct, and in cooperation with law enforcement,” a statement from the school system reads. “The student was removed from the school during the investigation, which is continuing.”

In a school board meeting Tuesday evening, Hanlin said student safety continues to be the school system’s highest priority.

“The investigation is ongoing, and as per board policy any student who brings a weapon on school property or to a school-sponsored event will face serious action,” she said. “Providing a safe and secure learning environment is a top priority for Wicomico County Public Schools, and we take any violation of that policy very seriously.

Security measures and protocols are in place to help us maintain safe school communities across our school district.”

Hanlin this week also recognized the parents and students who reported the matter to school personnel.

“I especially want to thank those parents and students who provided us with the information necessary to investigate and bring swift closure to this incident,” she said. “Please continue to encourage your children to let a teacher or administrator know if a situation exists that could ever place him or her, or others, in danger. Please remind your child if you see something, say something. It’s only by working together that we can create and maintain the level of safety that we want for our children.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.