Seven charges have been filed against the 16-year-old student who prompted a campus-wide lockdown at Barrington High School Monday morning after a teacher reported seeing him with a gun in a restroom. The student is now being held at the Robert W. Depke Juvenile Justice Complex in Lake County, IL, facing four Felony charges which include Unlawful Use of a Weapon on Public School Grounds and Possession of a Controlled Substance (38 Strattera pills, 3 Xanax bars and Psilocybin mushrooms, according to police). He also faces three Misdemeanor charges for firearm and cannabis possession.
During a press conference Monday, Barrington 220 Schools Superintendent, Dr. Brian Harris, BHS Principal Steve McWilliams and Police Chief David Dorn shared more about what happened and the school’s rapid response.
Dr. Harris says that, at about 10:30 a.m., a teacher reported seeing the student with a handgun in one of the school’s common bathrooms. They immediately began investigating with the help of Barrington police and the school’s video surveillance equipment.
“Within a very short period of time, the entire school went on a hard lockdown. Within fifteen minutes or so, we apprehended the student who had brought the gun to school and we needed to determine whether or not the student was working with others or by himself.”
Once they were confident no others were involved, Dr. Harris says parents were notified and they lifted the lockdown at about 11:20 a.m.
“Our number one priority was the safety of the students and staff in the school. Once we had that situation under control, then we decided to move forward with communications to our community and our parents, which we did as quickly as we possibly could. But the priority was the internal safety of our students and staff.”
Officials say, while the handgun was unloaded, ammunition was found in the student’s backpack. No injuries were reported and he was arrested without incident.
Barrington Police Chief, David Dorn, says, “The teacher did exactly what he was supposed to do in reporting it to the police and to the school administrators so we responded immediately.”
A BHS senior we spoke with says he was in class with the arrested student shortly before it all began.
“Not long after (the student) left the room, we heard the lockdown announcement on the PA system. They said, ‘This is a hard lockdown. All students go to the classrooms and begin lockdown procedure.’ So we turned off the lights, locked the doors, went in the back, we were all there. About ten minutes later, armed officers came into the classroom asking where he was.”
Dr. Harris says school administrators and staff did an outstanding job following safety procedures practiced during recent drills, avoiding an incident that could have been much worse.
“We averted a catastrophe and we are very fortunate that the student was apprehended and all students and staff are safe.”
In a message sent to BHS families late today, Principal Steve McWilliams wrote, “The deployment of police officers who were searching for the individual was witnessed by a handful of students and staff. For them or anyone else who may need support tomorrow, our counselors will be on hand to help them process their emotions.”
“Naturally, some have asked about metal detectors and why communication did not occur more quickly today. These are understandable questions,” Principal McWilliams adds. “Please know we work closely with local law enforcement to enact security measures that are understated yet effective, as well as communication that is timely yet appropriate.”
“We don’t always get it right, but we are always vigilant when it comes to protecting our students and staff. This is our highest priority – even more so than teaching and learning. Today was a dramatic example of how we prepare, practice and proceed when the well being of anyone is threatened while at Barrington High School.”
As Barrington police continue their investigation and administrators consider calls for extra safety precautions, parents and students shaken by Monday’s lockdown are sharing thoughts like these via our page at Facebook.com/BarringtonIllinois…
“As jaded as we are by such threats, for kids at the school, including my own daughter, it was a horrifying morning. Thank goodness it is over for now.” – Nausheen
“Thank God and everyone who assisted that everyone is safe and sound.” – Barbara
“What a scary morning having both children in lockdown at their high school due to someone with a gun at their school. I am so thankful that my children are both safe after this incident. I am thankful that their high school was diligent last spring in fully testing their lockdown and safety procedures, thankful that Barrington High School faculty and the Barrington Police Department did everything to keep our children safe today, and thankful that I was able to drive home from school this morning after the lockdown was lifted knowing that no one was hurt. It is a very sad and scary world that we live in today. You never think it will happen to you or your loved ones, and then an incident like this reminds us of just how vulnerable we all are. I wish we could somehow shelter our children from all this.” – Cecelia
“I’m blessed to have such professional coworkers. Everything went as rehearsed in order to protect all.” – Lucy, BHS Staff Member
“It’s times like this when I really question the gun control laws of the United States. Why is this allowed to happen? Why is this allowed to be a valid fear? If there was control, there wouldn’t be stories like this…” – Maanvi
“If a faculty member notices, it’s because they are probably more aware (based on life experience and age) of what may look suspicious or even just be aware of anything while taking a simple bathroom break. I think schools in general need to spend a little more on better security measures…better cameras, more monitors, training to staff etc…” – Thor
“Also think parents need to start getting more involved with their children. I know you can’t keep 100% control of your children, but there must have been some kind of sign.” – Barbara
“I’m glad all is good! Very scary situation handled fast!” – Melina
“Swift action by all involved! I hope this incident would make everyone – the students, parents, staff of 220 – be aware of what’s happening around them and force the administration to reevaluate school policies. Needless to say, the parents need to have a better grip of what’s happening in their child’s life to avoid any such potential threats to society. This incident hit too close to home!“ – Aruna
Stay tuned for more reaction from students about the lockdown. In the meantime, follow the latest updates on this developing story at Facebook.com/Barrington220.