15-year-old who brought handgun to Red Jacket student still detained, not charged

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SHORTSVILLE, N.Y. (WHEC) — Friday, a staff member at Red Jacket High School in Manchester, Ontario County disarmed a student who brought a loaded, semi-automatic handgun into the school.

That 15-year-old student is in custody but has not been charged yet.

The District Attorney’s Office is doing a forensic check on the gun to determine, among other things, if it was reported stolen.

We wanted to understand what schools do to prevent those threats, and Monday News10NBC talked to one of the experts in the world.

Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero said the 15-year-old student met with a staff member when he arrived at school, a meeting experts call a "check and connect."

The sheriff said that staff member talked to the student and took the gun.

"In this case, tragedy was averted because people with training did the right thing," Sheriff Povero said.

Brean: "Mark, when you read some of the comments the sheriff made, the district attorney made and the lieutenant made, what do you takeaway from that?"

Mark Concordia, Certified Threat Manager, AT-RISK International: "What I can take from those comments… truly heroic work done by the school district."

Mark Concordia is from Rochester. He’s a retired police officer and taught at Roberts Wesleyan College. He’s trained local schools and he is one of 200 certified threat managers on the earth.

Concordia has not trained Red Jacket High School but he’s trained staff at multiple schools in the Finger Lakes and he’s working with schools in northern New York right now.

What he trains schools to do is identify risks and get the whole community involved.

"Office of Mental Health, Children and Family Services, the police department," Concordia said.

And then surround the student and his or her family with help.

"If that happens, Berkeley, if that happens it’s widely been assessed as the best practice recommendation so that we never get to that 11th hour where the student has access to a weapon and comes into that school with a gun," he said.

Concordia trained West Irondequoit schools in 2020 and now they have threat assessment teams in each school and their job is to identify a threat and figure out how severe it is.

"Then, more importantly, to create a plan of intervention and to maintain that plan over time," Superintendent Aaron Johnson said.

Brean: "Have you ever had to employ this?"

Johnson: "We do, yep."

Brean: "You do."

Johnson: "We have and we continue to."

Most recently in December, the school was alerted to a threat on TikTok. It mobilized its threat assessment teams and worked with police and determined it was not credible.

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"This is about analyzing the behaviors and creating this plan of intervention that we maintain as a community, together," Johnson said. "School, family and the outside resources."

There is a public event with Mark Concordia and West Irondequoit schools Wednesday night at 7 at the auditorium.