New London

13-Year-Old Charged After Gun Scare Prompts Lockdown at New London School

A 13-year-old boy was charged after a lockdown at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London over a report of a gun in the building Thursday.

Police said they responded to the school around 9:08 a.m. after a report of a boy pulling a gun on another student in a bathroom and none of that information was validated. Officials said a student had a battery believed to be from a hoverboard in the waist of his pants.

Police said they contacted both students, and did a thorough search of the school and did not find any weapon or threat.

“Both students have been talked to. The Board of Education is running an investigation on their part. The police department is doing the criminal aspect,” Police Chief Peter Reichard said.

A 13-year-old student was charged with disorderly conduct. Police stressed that the boy did not have an actual weapon or make an “overt threat.”

School remained in session for the day, but parents were welcome to pick up their children and hundreds of parents and guardians did just that. They lined up at the school to pick up their loved ones. That line rounded the front of the campus and reached the sidewalk.

“I’m kinda scared to go to school now,” said sixth grader Marielena Arriaga.

She was terrified when she realized Bennie Dover Jackson’s lockdown was not a drill.

“Me and my friends start crying and pouring our eyes out and everything,” Arriaga said. “We were just terrified.”

The sister of a student who responded to the school said she was terrified when she heard about what was happening and could not reach her sibling or cousin by text.

“There was no loud speaker announcement, which is how they would perform a drill,” said 8th grader Anastacia Charron said. “But there wasn’t any. So we kind of all figured there was a real-deal lockdown and that scared me a lot.”

“I kinda wasn’t scared because I knew the teachers would protect me,” said 6th grader Akeem Byfield, who was about to start gym class.

Parents said they got texts, emails and calls from the school.

“I think they handled it pretty well. I don’t know what happened inside the school but they notified parents, parents notified each other,” said middle school parent Victoria Thibdeau.

She said she waited in line to pick up her daughter for 30 to 45 minutes.

Each parent or guardian needed a valid ID.

Other parents wished they had more information on what happened, especially because of recent current events.

Mom Rebequa Vazquez said this scare happened too close to home.

“Oh my god. On my way here I couldn’t stop shaking and right now it’s overwhelming,” Vazquez said. “I’m just going to hold (my son) tight tonight.”

Police plan to have an officer in the area of the school Friday.

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