Schenectady High student charged with bringing imitation gun to school

A Schenectady High School student is under arrest, charged with bringing an imitation handgun to school while he was serving an out-of-school suspension.

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Police are not identifying the male student because he is 17.

They say he was spotted by staff in the hall wearing a ski mask, gloves, a hood and carrying a bag.

He gave them a fake name and walked away. That’s when school resource officers ran after him.

The student came outside school and across the ball field, where two community engagement officers, also known as school resource officers, caught up to him. When officers stopped the student, they say he was carrying an imitation Glock in a bag.

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The superintendent tells NewsChannel 13 they think he was let in from one of the school’s many side doors, maybe by another student. They’re now looking at getting alarms on those doors.

He says the district will try to support the student as he faces two criminal charges.

The incident comes on the heels of a tense debate in the district about community engagement officers. This spring, students and the school community went back and forth over the benefits of the officers compared to concerns that officers would be feared by students of color.

District parent and community member Shawn Young says he’s not convinced the best course of action to keep students safe is bringing in police officers. He does not want to see students "discarded" and criminally charged without more strategies to prevent students from getting in trouble.

However, Superintendent Anibal Soler says the plan for more officers, which is going forward, will hopefully mean more support and engagement with families like that of the student facing charges. He says they will have ties to Schenectady and be approachable, not dressed in traditional police uniforms.

Hear the superintendent talk more about the plan for community engagement officers, and how he says they will be beneficial to the community– plus one parent’s concerns– by watching the video of Stella Porter’s story.

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