Gun incident at Patton MS has community asking questions

Parent apparently left holstered gun in unlocked, running car at school Thursday

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

PattonLogoFullEAST MARLBOROUGH — Unionville-Chadds Ford School District officials reiterated Friday morning that no students were at risk when a Charles F. Patton Middle School parent apparently left a holstered firearm in a running and unlocked car outside of the school, Thursday.

After school security checked out the vehicle — while the parent was in the school picking up his child — East Marlborough police responded to the scene. While the parent, as yet unidentified, legally owned the weapon, it is illegal to carry a weapon onto school grounds under state law.

Still, district officials said, the incident is very troubling — especially in recent light of school shootings.

“Our students were never in any danger, and there was no threat to them, but the incident raises troubling concerns,” Superintendent of Schools John Sanville said in a statement Friday.  “We live in a world today where incidences of violence in schools is all too familiar. Our weapons policy and the Pennsylvania Crimes Code are very strong and clear on this matter and we are vigilant in our pursuit of a safe school environment. We not only rely on our staff, but also the eyes and ears of the entire community, as we work together to ensure the safety of our students.”

The parent — who remains unidentified — is expected to face weapons charges in the incident.

The school is currently undergoing renovations to better secure its entrance, which has changed some of the parking and pickup patterns at the school.

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