MPD stations officers outside La Follette High School day after gun arrest
MADISON, Wis. — Madison police officials said officers were stationed at La Follette High School Friday a day after a student was arrested for bringing a loaded gun into the school.
Madison Police Department public information officer Stephanie Fryer said the department had four officers positioned outside La Follette High School in “highly-visible areas.” Two other officers were set to be assigned to the area near the school during dismissal.
Fryer said the department proactively put the extra presence outside the school to ensure student safety. Madison Metropolitan School District spokesperson Tim LeMonds told News 3 Now the district requested the officers as a result of Thursday’s incident.
Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said Thursday the incident was indicative of a safety gap after school resource officers were pulled from the district last year.
“The SROs are now phased out and it’s now incumbent on the school system to keep the kids safe,” Barnes told News 3 Now in an interview. “I’m just glad that our officers were not tied up on another call.”
An 18-year-old student was arrested at the school Thursday afternoon after a parent provided a tip to school officials with the name of the student. The school was put on a hold while officers entered the classroom where the student was. Police said the student tried to push his way out of the classroom when officers arrived but was stopped by a school administrator.
Officers recovered the gun from the student, which they said was stolen from Cottage Grove in September. Police said a bullet was in the chamber when the gun was taken from the student.
Chief Barnes told News 3 Now it was unclear if the student was the person who stole the gun, or why he chose to bring the gun to school.
All sports and co-curricular activities at La Follette and Madison East High Schools were canceled Thursday night out of caution following the incident.
News 3 Now is not naming the student at this time due to its policy not to name suspects until they have been formally charged in court.
Reporting school threats
Madison schools, along with around 80% of schools across the state of Wisconsin, are using the Department of Justice’s “Speak Up, Speak Out” program.
The online app gives students, teachers and parents the ability to give tips anonymously about school safety, among other concerns.
Attorney General Josh Kaul has been instrumental in developing the program and said it is critical in these situations to speak up regardless of the size of the threat.
“It could be something as simple as contacting a school official so that a welfare check can happen with a student if there is concern about self-harm, or it could be a more extensive response if there is a concern that one student could be harming somebody,” Kaul said.
Though the tip about the armed student at La Follette High School came into the main office line, an MMSD spokesperson the “Speak Up, Speak Out” program has been a good resource for the district.
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