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Student brings unloaded gun to St. Paul school

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For the second time this school year, a St. Paul Public Schools student brought a handgun to school.

Linwood Monroe Arts Plus was placed into lockdown for 15 minutes Wednesday morning after school officials received a tip that the student had the unloaded gun at school, according to a letter sent home to parents.

Officials found the gun in the student's locker. It's not clear why the student brought the weapon to school, with officials saying threats were known to have been directed at anyone.

"This is the second time a gun has been found in one of our schools this year and it saddens me that some of our children bring weapons to school," Superintendent Valeria Silva said in a news release. "This is not just a school problem or a district problem. This is a reflection of our broader St. Paul and national community."

St. Paul police took the student into custody and is investigating the incident.

Bringing a weapon – loaded or unloaded – to school violates the school district's zero-tolerance policy, with officials noting the district "takes situations like this seriously" and will follow its discipline procedures.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again – weapons do not belong in schools. Violence does not belong in schools," Silva said.

Wednesday's episode comes in the wake of a series of violent incidents in St. Paul Public Schools this school year, which prompted the St. Paul teachers union to make school safety a priority in contract talks with the district. The contract agreement that the school board will vote on next week includes money to hire more counselors, social workers, and nurses in hopes of improving safety and promote a positive school climate.

In January, the district also rolled out an initiative that assigned administrators to help with safety at schools where the needs are greatest.

"Somehow we've got to find a way to put an end to this and we need everyone to help us – students, staff, families and community. It will take our collective awareness and action to ensure that our schools remain safe and supportive for all students," Silva said in the release.

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