Communities on alert following disturbing trend of weapons brought to schools

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 11:22 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2023 at 6:44 AM EST
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HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) - Another case of a weapon brought into a school caused extreme safety concerns for parents and students.

Most recently, a gun and ammunition was found hidden in a Hamden classroom.

It has become a dangerous trend that has played out in communities across the state.

A loaded 9 mm with a large capacity magazine was found in a closet at the Collaborative Learning Center on Tuesday Morning.

Police said a student named Khalil Davis-Yancy put it there. Davis-Yancy was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

“It really doesn’t matter. Big city? Doesn’t matter. Small town? It’s out there and it’s unfortunately where we are now with the availability with weapons,” said Bobby McDonald, a criminal justice expert at the University of New Haven.

Additional security costs school districts money, so in the meantime, McDonald said the most important thing should be communication between police, school systems, and parents.

“If parents have weapons in their house, keep them locked up,” he said. “They’ve got to keep them out of sight, out of reach of youngsters.”

In recent months, there were several weapons brought to schools that ranged from elementary to high school.

  • Dec. 2022 - Child brought gun to an elementary school in East Granby.
  • Jan. 24, 2023 - Middle school student brought a gun to Washington Middle School in Meriden.
  • Jan. 30, 2023 - A 16-year-old was arrested and expelled for having a loaded gun on Manchester High School ground.
  • Jan. 31, 2023 - Two teen girls were charged after a stun gun was brought to Hamden High School.
  • Feb. 2023 - Students brought knives in two separate cases to different schools in East Granby

“When I do hear these kinds of stories, it certainly makes me nervous,” said Sinoj John, a Rocky Hill parent.

Experts said the COVID-19 pandemic made an impact on students.

“Remote learning, a lot of families struggling to get by, losing family members,” said Dr. Melissa Whitson, a professor of psychology at the University of New Haven.

Whitson said the lack of social connections and ability to resolve conflict has been a contributing factor.

“Kids that are having fights or disagreements or are upset with people and they are lacking the skills to resolve those conflicts in a peaceful and affective manner,” Whitson said.

Parents were encouraged to have open conversations with their kids and be aware of any changes they are going through.

“Warning signs where you see them withdrawing more, not having many social interactions or if they’re on the internet a lot,” Whitson said.

To protect schools, parents were advised to lock up their weapons, which is a law in Connecticut anyway, and keep them out of sight and not loaded.