A 17-year-old Connecticut high school student was arrested after allegedly saying during class, "I could buy an AR-15 rifle" — the same type of gun used in the deadly mass shooting last Wednesday at a Florida high school.
Authorities came to Ledyard High School after getting word from school officials around 9 a.m. Thursday that the student made the comment, WTNH-TV reported.
The student — whose identity is being withheld — was charged with threatening in the 2nd degree and breach of peace in the 2nd degree, WTNH said.
Police told the station they worked with school staff to ensure there was never a credible threat to students or staff members.
Principal Amanda Fagan emphasized in a statement that the student is a minor who cannot legally purchase an AR-15 but that the student's words are "akin to joking about a bomb in the airport. One simply doesn’t do it," WTIC-TV reported.
"The student in question does not have access to firearms at home," Fagan added, the station said. "There was never any threat to the safety of your children or the adults who teach and tend to them each day. The student did not, in fact, specifically threaten to do harm but rather referenced the purchase of a weapon."
Here is the principal's statement on WTIC:
In the wake of any school violence, nerves are often frayed. Today is no exception. Many of us – parents, students, educators – faced today with feelings of sadness, anger, even fear as we began to process the news of the eighth fatal school shooting in America in seven weeks. This time, it was 17 high school students and staff members who lost their lives yesterday at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Like every school staff in America today, the staff of Ledyard High School had heightened senses all day, working to be sure our smiles were particularly welcoming, our ears were particularly open, our interactions particularly genuine. I addressed the student body at the start of second block today, and I attach those words to this email if you’d like to read them.
The specific purpose for this School Messenger is to counter some false information that was posted today on a community forum on Facebook. That social media post indicated that a student at the high school had been arrested today for posting on the internet that he was going to shoot up the high school. That information, as presented, is false. Had an overt threat against the students and staff of Ledyard High School been made, you can be certain that you would have heard about it from school or district administration.
While protecting student confidentiality, I’d like to tell you what did happen today. At the beginning of our first period class, a student stated, roughly, “I could buy an AR-15.” In an abundance of caution, despite the fact that this student is a minor who cannot, in fact, legally purchase such a weapon, we made the decision to consult with the Ledyard Police, who made the decision to take the student into custody. The offense is akin to joking about a bomb in the airport. One simply doesn’t do it.
The student in question does not have access to firearms at home. There was never any threat to the safety of your children or the adults who teach and tend to them each day. The student did not, in fact, specifically threaten to do harm but rather referenced the purchase of a weapon. Moving forward into the coming days and weeks, I ask for your help in keeping the spread of unverified information in check. Should you ever have a question, please reach out to me by phone, email, or in person. I’m happy to clarify or verify information as appropriate.
(H/T: The College Fix)