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Officials investigate Elmwood student's alleged comments about bringing gun to school

Elmwood School District Superintendent and 4K-fifth grade principal Paul Blanford said the district has security and safety protocols in place. Concern surfaced after a student was heard allegedly threatening to bring a gun to school, while on an after school bus route. File photo

Elmwood School District is continuing to investigate a report of a student saying he/she was going to bring a gun to school.

The district electronically released a statement to parents and staff and posted the statement on their school website over the weekend of Feb. 24.

"On Wednesday, February 21, following afternoon bus routes, the Elmwood School District Administration received a report that a student on the after school bus route had made comments about bringing a gun to school," the electronic statement read. "Administration immediately contacted the Pierce County Sheriff and the Elmwood Police Department who promptly began an investigation into this matter."

The statement went on to say the students who had "firsthand knowledge" of the incident were interviewed and Pierce County Sheriff's deputies came to Elmwood to continue their investigation, which is ongoing.

"The District's primary focus and concern is on student and staff safety," the statement read. "Based on our discussions with law enforcement, we do not believe there is any present risk to the safety of our students and staff members. We appreciate the support by law enforcement and the cooperation of our students, parents, and staff members."

Paul Blanford, Elmwood 4K-5th grade principal and district superintendent, said safety remains a high priority at the school.

"In the event of the existence of an outstanding threat to the safety and welfare of students and staff members, for a threat that has been made outside of the school day, school would be immediately closed to prevent an incident at school and would remain closed until it was determined safe to re-open," Blanford said. "If the threat of the safety and welfare of students and staff occurred during the school day, we have a lockdown process and protocol to secure the school buildings and safety, including notifying police and first responders."

Blanford said the schools have protocols in place to address threats to security. He said for safety reasons they don't publicize what these protocols and processes are, but said they do have plans in place for how to deal with threats. Blanford said they do everything they can to reduce any risk to students and staff at the school.

"We have video surveillance systems and emergency procedures, and other measures to prevent and minimize safety risk," Blanford said. "However, despite all measures we have available, we realize that we need to continually upgrade and adapt to the changing circumstances of our day."