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Juveniles arrested after bringing BB gun to Highlands High School

| Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 1:29 p.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Harrison and Tarentum Police respond just outside of Highlands High School after a report of a student possibly with a firearm in the parking lot of the school in Harrison Township on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. It turned out to be an unloaded BB gun. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
Harrison, Tarentum, and Brackenridge Police talk with a student outside of Highlands High School after a report of a student possibly with a firearm in the parking lot of the school in Harrison Township on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. It turned out to be an unloaded BB gun. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
Harrison, Tarentum, Fawn, and Brackenridge Police stage in front of Highlands High School after a report of a student possibly with a firearm in the parking lot of the school in Harrison Township on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. It turned out to be an unloaded BB gun. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch

Two teenage boys caused a scare at Highlands High School on Thursday afternoon when a school security guard saw them outside with what looked like a handgun.

The weapon turned out to be an unloaded, black plastic BB gun that an expelled student had brought to show to a friend who attends the high school.

“They were in the yard outside, in a corner, and they didn't think anybody saw and one kid took it out and handed it to the other kid,” said Harrison police Sgt. Kevin Gourley. “He took it and someone saw it. And they said, ‘Hey,' and he stuck it behind him to hide it.”

That's when they were approached by school security guards who were outside on duty for a planned early dismissal at about 12:30 p.m.

When a guard requested to see what was being concealed, the boy dropped the BB gun and stepped away.

The boys, both 16, were arrested by Harrison police, who are not identifying the teens due to their age. They will be charged as juveniles, Gourley said. The charge was not immediately determined.

Neither boy had ammunition for the gun, he said.

“At no point was anyone at the school in danger,” Gourley said. “They're both remorseful; they both said they weren't thinking.”

School officials followed procedure when the gun was discovered, said district spokeswoman Misty Chybrzynski. The high school and middle school were immediately put on lockdown and students were kept in classrooms.

“It's unfortunate that it happened, but everyone did a good job,” she said.

Some middle school students had already been dismissed because they walk home and they witnessed the police activity.

“I was out here and there were cops with assault rifles,” said eighth-grader Josh Boehm, who was outside the high school waiting for his sister.

Marissa Montgomery of Harrison, who was at the school for an appointment regarding her daughter's Head Start program held in the high school building, said she saw police cars from Fawn, Harrison, Brackenridge and Tarentum at the school.

She and her sister, Cynde, had just pulled up on Pacific Avenue across from the school when an officer approached them and told them what was happening.

“It makes me nervous,” said Cynde Montgomery, of Fawn. “There are a lot of young kids in there.”

Because of the lockdown, Thursday evening activities at the high school were canceled. Students are off Friday for a scheduled teacher in-service day.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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