Handgun at Grand Valley High School | PostIndependent.com

Handgun at Grand Valley High School

Ryan Summerlin
rsummerlin@postindependent.com

The faculty at Grand Valley High School found a handgun in a student’s vehicle Wednesday afternoon, leading the young man to be arrested on a felony charge.

Grand Valley Principal Ryan Frink said a student alerted a teacher that a 17-year-old student might have a handgun in his car in the high school parking lot.

Frink and another staffer searched the student’s car and found the pistol. The principal called in Parachute police, who also found ammunition in the vehicle, though the gun itself was not loaded.

The school was not locked down, said Parachute Police Chief Cary Parmenter, because the student was already detained by the faculty at that time and posed no threat to the school.

“At no time were there any threats made toward any students or staff,” the chief said in a press release.

The 17-year-old was arrested on charges of unlawfully carrying a weapon on a school campus, a class 6 felony, and misdemeanor possession of a handgun by a juvenile.

The school also sent out an automated message to parents about the incident at about 4 p.m., said Parmenter.

This arrest comes two months after a 15-year-old Grand Valley High School student was arrested on menacing charges after other students said he’d threatened to shoot up the school. School administrators and the police chief later expressed doubts that the young man actually threatened gun violence on the school.

Colorado law governing schools has a zero-tolerance policy for dangerous weapons on campus, said Frink.

The principal stressed that no threats had been made in the Wednesday incident and that in rural western Colorado, where outdoor recreation and hunting are very popular, firearms are also common.

But the law doesn’t allow the faculty to interpret someone’s intent with a weapon, he said.

Frink would not comment on any disciplinary action the school would take with the student. The principal could suspend the student for five days, after which the superintendent could give him an additional 10 days of suspension — all of which could culminate in an expulsion hearing.

Frink said only that the school is following that procedure, starting with a five-day suspension.