Officials: Student allegedly brought gun to New Jersey charter school

Parents of students at an Essex County charter school are on edge after a student allegedly brought a gun to the school.

News 12 Staff

Oct 1, 2021, 8:22 PM

Updated 931 days ago


Parents of students at an Essex County charter school are on edge after a student allegedly brought a gun to the school.
The incident happened at Kipp Newark Collegiate Academy. Newark police came to the school around 9:30 a.m. Friday after the school received an anonymous tip that a student had a weapon inside of the school.
Newark Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara says that the student was detained while the incident was investigated.
A school security officer turned over the weapon. The school was not evacuated.
But some parents say that they are not happy with how the school responded to the incident.
“This is sickening. These is young teenagers, they don’t need to be going through this,” says parent Toni Scantlebury.
Scantlebury says that she is particularly concerned that school administrators only sent out an email to parents.
"The school sent out an email. How dare you send out an email, you should make phone calls everybody doesn't check their emails,” she says.
Other parents also voiced their concerns.
“It’s very scary to send your kids to school knowing that it’s supposed to be a safe haven and things happen,” says parent Cassandra Parfait.
A spokesperson for the school says in a statement, “At KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy student safety is our top priority… The student who is alleged to have brought the weapon will not return to NCA until a full investigation is complete and the appropriate next steps have been determined."
The parents are now calling on the school to increase security.
“They need more security. There's no security and there's kids sneaking through the back. It's just wrong,” says Scantlebury.
The United States has seen a jump in school shootings since March, even though many schools were partially or completely closed this past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clinical school psychologist Dr. Liz Matheis says often when high schoolers bring guns to school there's more meaning behind the why.
“When you have a child who’s in high school – high school age – you’re looking at someone who has maybe some more deep-seated anger or feeling disempowered, helpless and maybe he doesn’t feel OK to ask for help” Matheis says.
She says that it is important for schools to focus more on the emotional and mental health of children who may be feeling the effects of the pandemic.
The Murphy administration this week launched a mental health resource website for children and teens dealing with possible challenges related to the pandemic.

More from News 12