There was never a threat to Big Foot students or staff, officials say

By Heather Ruenz

A report on Monday by a concerned Big Foot High School student led to the discovery of a loaded gun and drugs in a vehicle belonging to a classmate who was arrested as a result of the incident.

School officials and Village of Walworth police have both stated that at no time was there a direct threat made toward the school, students or staff.

According to a statement from Walworth Police Chief Ryan Milligan, the School Resource Officer met with a student who reported a classmate had recently purchased a firearm.

The student “was concerned the classmate might hurt himself or others,” Milligan said in the statement.

Following the meeting with the student, the SRO and school staff began investigating, which led to a search of the suspect’s vehicle, which was parked on school grounds.

“The search resulted in the discovery of a loaded firearm, ammunition, suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia,” Milligan said.

After locating and seizing the items, the suspect was arrested for the offenses and held in the Walworth County Jail.

“Never at any time was there a direct threat made towards the school, students or staff,” Milligan said, adding that there may be an increased presence of law enforcement at the school noticed.

“Our presence is simply for the comfort of the students,” Milligan said.

He said his department is committed to the safety of the entire community and does not feel there is an increased risk.

Milligan also issued a reminder about the importance of reporting suspicious activity.

District Administrator Doug Parker, in an update Wednesday afternoon, said the loaded gun was a hunting rifle. Parker also reiterated that there was no threat in the school itself at any time.

“There were no weapons in the building itself, and at no time do we believe there were any threat to the safety of our students and staff,” Parker said.

He said while the district has been working with local police to investigate the incident, it’s a police matter so the amount of information the district can share is limited.

“Please know that ensuring a safe and positive learning environment is always our top priority. We are following state law and school district protocol in addressing the situation,” Parker said.

In response to Parker’s statement, which posted on Big Foot High School’s Facebook page, comments alluded to how things have changed over the years.

“It shouldn’t be a big deal. But times have changed,” Joseph Falcone commented.

A couple of people commented that when they were in class it was commonplace for students to have hunting weapons in their vehicles while they were at school.

“When I went to school everyone had them… and no shooting ever occurred at our school,” Maritta Mountjoy wrote.

Dean Roger said when he was in school crossbows were made in shop class.

But Jessica Peters-Ames commented that times have changed.

“The world isn’t what it used to be,” she wrote.


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