‘As a leader, you have failed.’: Parents address Manchester-Shortsville School Board after handgun incident

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MANCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Manchester-Shortsville School Board Wednesday night addressed some of the changes it plans on making after an incident on April 1 where a Red Jacket High School Student brought a loaded handgun and an extra magazine to school.

A staff member was able to calm the student down and disarm him. The 15-year-old student was taken into custody by the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.

Two weeks later, he was charged with criminal possession of a weapon. A grand jury could still decide to indict him on additional charges. He is being held in a secure location.

At the school board meeting Wednesday night plans to bring in a school resource officer (SRO) were announced.

Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero was at the meeting. He said the incident is still under investigation, and that he will not be releasing additional information about the teen at this time.

"This investigation does continue, and it remains an open criminal investigation and you have heard, you will continue to hear that because of this we are extraordinarily limited in the amount of information that we can divulge at any forum while this process continues," Povero said.

The school district began offering trauma and grief support for students and employees who felt traumatized by what happened as soon as the day after the incident.

It also added more cameras, thumb turn locks on all classroom and office doors, exterior doors have swipe card access, and a new PA system.

Parents also got the chance to air their grievances.

"As a leader, you have failed. Your faculty, students, and community do not trust you," said a parent identified only as "Dusty".

They also pointed out that while the district is planning on bringing an SRO back, there used to be one.

"You get rid of an SRO because of a budget cut, but nobody forgoes their raises. What’s more important, the safety of those kids, or this school’s monetary value?" asked a parent identified only as "Isaac." "If money is more important than safety, then all of you should resign right now, and leave. you’d do everybody here a greater service. The lasting you should’ve ever done was get rid of an SRO."

Though, some parents said they do not want an SRO at the school.

I think that the money, I mean there’s a lot of veterans, there’s a lot of private security companies that can do the exact same job for the same amount of money I’m sure that they’re wasting on the sheriff’s department," David Hewitt said.

Superintendent of Schools Charlene Dehn released the statement below and took no questions:

"This district will continue to provide students, and staff with the support that they need. We strive to continually improve at Red Jacket, and we’re very proud of the courageous acts of our staff."