Charges to be urged after report of toy guns at schools

Students allegedly pose on campuses over weekend

SEQUIM — Sequim police expect to suggest that formal charges be filed by the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office against students who allegedly posed with replica toy guns on Sequim School District campuses last weekend.

Sgt. Carolee Edwards said Wednesday that officers continued to investigate an incident in which three middle- and high school-aged students were reported to have been in possession of prohibited weapons on school grounds over the weekend.

They expect to recommend charges be heard in Clallam County Juvenile Court.

Sequim School District officials contacted the police department Monday morning about the allegations, Edwards said.

State law (RCW 9.41.280) prohibits dangerous weapons on school campuses, she said.

The students’ names, ages and genders were not released by police.

Edwards said the students were posing with the replica weapons and did not appear to be making any threats.

“It’s very unfortunate they chose to bring (the replica weapons) to school property,” she said.

On Monday afternoon, interim Superintendent Joan Zook emailed parents and guardians about the incident, saying there was no threat to anyone.

Administrators received photos Monday morning of students holding an airsoft pistol — which is a low-power replica gun that shoots non-metallic spheres — and a gel gun that shoots water-filled gel capsules such as Orbeez beads, on the Sequim Middle and High School campuses, Zook said.

Edwards said it appears only two replica weapons were seen.

Zook said the pictures of students posing with the toy weapons were from over the weekend and were on their social media accounts.

District administrators immediately involved law enforcement and began working with the students and parents on disciplinary measures, Zook said.

“We can never underestimate the role we all — students, parents, and staff — play in keeping our schools safe,” she wrote.

“Thank you to those who reported this information as it allowed us to address this situation quickly.”

National news outlets have reported about social media challenges related to individuals using gel blasters to shoot others unexpectedly.

No incidents about shooting near the school were reported to 9-1-1 dispatchers over the weekend.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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