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Two Palo Alto High School students were arrested on suspicion of bringing weapons to school in unrelated incidents Friday and Monday but did not brandish them or make threats on campus, a police spokeswoman said. In each case, the juveniles had the weapons — neither of them firearms — in their backpacks and students reported them to school officials who quickly called police, making lockdowns unnecessary, Palo Alto police Sgt. Kara Apple said. “Everything happened as it should in both of these incidents, which is fortunate,” Apple said.
The school learned about the weapons, a stun gun and a cork-shooting air gun, from student witnesses during open lunch period when classes are out and a lockdown would have been “very difficult,” Apple said. “The weapons were never brandished and there was no threat to use them on campus,” Apple added. “You had students come quickly to the school staff.” On Friday, at about 1:25 p.m., police were called to the high school at 50 Embarcadero Road by school staff about a student with a stun gun on campus, Apple said. Earlier, the student alleged to have the stun gun had walked off campus during lunch with another student to buy and sell marijuana to each other, Apple said.
The suspect produced the stun gun and tried twice to apply the weapon to the victim, who was able to get away without injury, Apple said. The victim went back to school and reported the incident to school authorities who called police and notified the student’s parents. Police found the commercially sold stun gun inside the suspect’s backpack and placed the student under arrest on suspicion of bringing a weapon to school, Apple said. On Monday, at about 11:45 a.m., officers were dispatched to the secondary school on another report of a weapon on campus. Students told school authorities that another student had showed them a makeshift weapon, Apple said.
When police arrived, they recovered from the suspect’s backpack a homemade fake gun with a carbon dioxide container that shoots air to propel rubber corks, Apple said. The student told police that he unintentionally left the weapon inside his backpack over the weekend and was going to walk home during lunch to drop it off, Apple said. The suspect’s parents were notified and the student was arrested on suspicion of taking a weapon to school, Apple said.
“We still take it seriously about having a weapon on campus,” Apple said. “Just the mere having it on campus.” The two episodes do not indicate a trend at the Palo Alto school, Apple said. “Two in one week is unusual to say the least,” Apple said. The school also handed down disciplinary actions against both students, Apple said. Neither student is being identified because they are juveniles, she said.
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