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Student, 14, brings unloaded gun to school

Just one day after City Comptroller William Thompson released an audit that found that the Department of Education (DOE) is not recording and reporting all of the violent and disruptive incidents that occur in city schools, a 14-year-old student was arrested for allegedly bringing a gun to class.
The incident occurred at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village on Thursday, September 20 when a fellow student told Assistant Principal [for] Security, Mr. Smaragdas, that he saw the unidentified suspect in possession of a gun on the bus.
Smaragdas immediately reported the incident to Principal Marilyn Shevell and to a school Safety Agent, who located the 9th grader in his second-period class and removed him.
School authorities found the .45-caliber firearm in the teen’s backpack, and police were called. According to reports, the gun was unloaded.
The student was then taken to the 105th Precinct, where he was met by his parents.
He has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and is being tried as a juvenile. The case is currently being handled by Family Court.
In a letter that was generated that same day, Shevell informed guardians that, “All other appropriate school officials were notified of the incident, as per the protocol of the [Schools] Chancellor [Joel Klein].”
She went on to say, “I want to reassure you that we have taken every precaution to ensure the safety and well being of all of our staff and students here at Martin Van Buren High School.”
According to Dina Paul Parks, spokesperson for the DOE, the student is facing a year of suspension, along with the charges.
Paul Parks told The Courier Sun, “Even when students are suspended, they are required to continue their education. They will be in school, just not in their home school.”
In the case of the 14-year-old, he will receive counseling as well as instruction, unless declined by his parents.
“The whole range of youth support and intervention services will be provided to him, so he can get his education and the support to readjust to his home school,” said Paul Parks.
Martin Van Buren was not one of the schools examined in Thompson’s audit, his office said.

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