On February 28, 2018 Holliston High School students, parents, guardians, and staff received an email regarding an incident in which an HHS student was found in possession of a weapon.
According to a statement released in the email sent by Superintendent Dr. Bradford Jackson, Principal Nicole Bottomley, and Holliston Police Chief Matthew Stone, the Holliston Police Department (HPD) was informed of the situation at approximately 6:30 PM on Tuesday, February 27th.
After students received the email, many expressed their thoughts about the situation. Sophomore Sophia Kailani and Senior Harrison Smith both had the same initial response asking why someone would do such a thing.
“Why would someone do this? It’s just in the wake of the [Parkland] shooting, that stuff is not funny and needs to be taken seriously, people died,” said Smith.
“Why? How? People just don’t think that much about what they’re doing and how it can impact other people. What may seem like not a big deal to one person may scare someone else,” said Kailani.
The HPD received a report from a parent of an HHS student who had overheard a conversation earlier in the day between two students in which one “claimed to ‘have a gun and 100 rounds of ammo’ at their home,” according to the statement.
Immediately after this information was reported, the HPD informed Ms. Bottomley and Dr. Jackson and began an investigation.
Through investigation, School Resource Officer Bryan DiGiorgio identified the student and at 9:30 PM on Tuesday, HPD officers visited the student’s home and spoke with the student and their parents. In this discussion, the student admitted to owning an airsoft BB gun and 100 BBs.
The BB gun was taken by the HPD and it was confirmed there were no firearms in the house, which was supported by gun permit records.
Later that night at approximately 11 PM, the HPD reported that further investigation revealed the student had brought the BB gun to the girl’s basketball game held at Hopkinton High School earlier in the evening and showed the gun to several other students.
According to the statement, “no direct threat to the safety of HHS existed.”
The email stated that “there is currently no evidence that the student either threatened violence or intended to commit an act of violence against the school or any individuals associated with the school or community.”
To ensure safety at HHS, the student did not attend school the day the statement was released and as of Wednesday February 28, the student “will remain out for the foreseeable future,” according to the email.
Regarding the incident, Senior Flannery Langton said that she was not surprised that it happened, “because stuff has happened all over the country and I figured it is a matter of time before it comes into Massachusetts, we have been very lucky in our schools.”
The email stressed that through implementing the idea of “see something; say something,” Holliston Public Schools and the HPD were able to work together to resolve the situation in a timely manner and ensure the safety of HHS and its community members.
A statement released by Ms. Bottomley accompanying the email encouraged students to notify a trusted adult if they are concerned about a peer, incident, statement, or any situation that makes them feel unsafe.
Kailani said that she believed “our school handled it relatively well,” but knew that many students were very scared after being notified of the situation.
The HPD is still undergoing investigation regarding the incident, considering both school consequences and criminal charges against the student.
The email stated that “there will be no additional updates provided regarding the incident that prompted this correspondence, unless the results of the ongoing investigation reveals relevant information that should be shared with the community.”