Less than three weeks after a Menlo-Atherton High School student found with a loaded gun on campus, police arrested another student on Tuesday, Nov. 29, for allegedly bringing a firearm to school. As a result, the school's principal has requested an increased police presence on campus.
Principal Karl Losekoot emailed M-A families on Wednesday morning, Nov. 30, to say that he is "disappointed to know that, once again, one of our students has decided to expose our school community to such a risk." The Atherton police blotter shows that a juvenile was arrested on a weapons charge on Nov. 29.
Earlier in the month, a student was arrested on Nov. 10 for allegedly bringing a loaded gun to the Atherton school, located at 555 Middlefield Road, police said.
Atherton Police Department Cmdr. Dan Larsen told the student newspaper, the M-A Chronicle that police found the loaded Smith & Wesson M&P Shield .380 pistol. Police told The Almanac that school staff called police after they found an unattended backpack with a possible firearm in it. Officers were able to determine what student brought the firearm to campus.
"Preliminary facts point to the student never intending to use the weapon against our students and staff," he said of the most recent incident. "Similar to the prior incident, I want you to know that we will pursue the most aggressive disciplinary sanctions legally allowed. … I want to be clear in stating that guns on campus are not a normal occurrence at our school. However, one handgun on campus is one too many."
A school staffer was able to "identify the potential threat, recovered the handgun without posing a risk to himself or anyone else, and we were able to immediately contact the Atherton Police Department," Losekoot said.
In addition to asking for increased police presence at the school, Losekoot said he will work with the Atherton Police Department to develop strategies and additional support to prevent weapons from ever being brought on campus again.
The principal said students may be experiencing some anxiety about these incidents and can check into the school's Zen Den for a break or request to speak to a social-emotional counselor. Students can also check in with their school counselor who can both provide support as well refer them to additional resources.