Student finds security guard's loaded gun unattended in restroom

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. — A letter was sent home to parents Thursday after a student found a security guard’s loaded gun unattended in the men’s restroom at Ringgold High School in Washington County, district officials said.

Superintendent Karen Polkabla said the student immediately reported the discovery of the loaded gun to a teacher. The teacher contacted Executive Officer Colleen Spahr, who put the weapon in the security office safe.

Polkabla said it was determined that the weapon belonged to another security officer within the district. She said measures are being taken to ensure no similar incidents happen, and commended the student.


"I must praise the student. The student deserves praise. He immediately went out and got a teacher,” she said.

Polkabla released the following formal statement:

"Student safety is very important to the Ringgold School District. Policies and procedures have been developed and implemented by the Ringgold School District police to protect the students in each of our buildings. Today, one of those procedures was not followed, as a result a service weapon was left unsecured. Since this is a personnel matter, I cannot comment any further.
"Highest praises go to the students and school personnel who followed established procedures which insured our students were safe at all times. We will continue to work diligently to protect our students."

Ringgold High School Principal Jason Minniti also addressed the incident in the following letter to parents, which was posted on the district’s website:

"Dear Parents, 
"Recognizing parents' rights and needs for timely and accurate information about student safety, I want to share with you an incident that occurred today at Ringgold High School. 
"An incident regarding a weapon occurred at the high school today.  I want you to have accurate information first. 
"This afternoon, a student reported to a teacher that he discovered a weapon in the men's restroom near the front of the building.  The teacher immediately contacted Executive Officer Colleen Spahr who secured the weapon in the security office safe.  Upon investigation, it has been determined that this weapon belongs to another security officer within the district.  Proper measures are being made to ensure nothing like this happens again. 
"As with all matters of student safety, we have taken this very seriously and have acted accordingly.  This is one area where I need your help.  Please encourage your child to let a teacher, administrator, or any school staff member know if a situation exists which could ever place them or others in danger. 
"Only by working as a school community in partnership with parents can we create and maintain the level of safety and security that we want for our children and that they certainly deserve. 
"Sincerely, Jason Minniti, Ringgold High School Principal"

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