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Connellsville Area website informs parents of weapon in school

| Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

In a letter posted on the district website Thursday, Connellsville Area School District Superintendent Daniel C. Lujetic informed parents that a South Side Elementary School student brought a BB gun to the school on Feb. 14.

“This was not reported to building or district administration that day, and the gun was inadvertently taken out of the building by an adult,” Lujetic stated in the letter.

The building principal learned of the incident that evening and notified Lujetic last Friday, the letter said.

City police Chief Jim Capitos could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

A police dispatcher confirmed the incident, saying that no one was injured and the gun was taken from the child.

Lujetic's letter stated that elementary principals investigated the incident on Friday.

“I also spent considerable time at South Side that day. The Connellsville police department and I discussed the incident, and the BB gun has been confiscated and is in possession of the police,” the letter continued.

Lujetic could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

Numerous board members did not return messages requesting comment.

Director Paul Harshman said he had been told “not to comment at this time. We are still investigating.”

Asked who had told him not to comment, he said he would not “divulge that information.”

Directors Francis Mongell and Thomas Dolde expressed surprise when contacted. Both said they had not been made aware of the incident.

Lujetic's letter stated that “confidentiality” issues prevented him from discussing specifics, including any potential disciplinary action.

He said the letter was not sent home to parents sooner because he wanted to gather facts and ensure safety precautions were taking place.

“As a parent, I understand the anxiety and uncertainty that surrounds an incident such as this. But, as an administrator, I assure you that we are all working to make each building as safe as possible, and to deal with incidents such as this one in a timely and safe fashion,” he said.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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