Air gun prompts school lockdown 

Taylor Middle School was briefly put on lockdown Friday after an eighth-grade student brought an air gun to school, sending police and school officials scrambling.

A 14-year-old boy, whose name wasn’t released, was taken into custody after another student told administrators about the weapon shortly before noon. The air gun, which shoots plastic pellets, had the appearance of a real firearm, according to Millbrae Elementary School DistrictSuperintendent Karen Philip.

"The school was on lockdown for about five minutes or so," said Millbrae police Sgt. John Aronis, one of several officers to respond to the lunchtime call.

The student, who was taking an exam when police arrived and entered the classroom, was carrying the air gun in his pocket, Aronis said. It wasn’t loaded and the student hadn’t threatened anyone, but appeared to be showing it off, police and school officials said.

"There was never a threat to another student," Philip said.

The student was taken out of the classroom without incident and released to a parent after being interviewed by police, Aronis said.

Taylor Middle School, which has 860 pupils, doesn’t require students to pass through metal detectors before entering in the morning, Philip said.

The Millbrae Elementary School District adheres to a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to weapons on school campuses, with infractions resulting in automatic and mandatory expulsion, Philip said. An appeal is possible after 12 months, Philip said.

Taylor Middle School Principal Robert Silva met with students and staff immediately after the lockdown to dispel rumors and inform them of what happened, Philip said. The school planned to contact parents by phone Friday evening to inform them of the situation, Philip said.

During a lockdown, teachers and administrators lock all doors, secure windows and pull down shades, and they are told not to respond to knocks at the door unless a code word is used, Philip said.

"This is the first I’m hearing about it," said Carlos Esguerra, a father who had arrived to pick up his two sons from the school at 3 p.m., when asked by The Examiner if he was concerned.

Esguerra’s eighth-grade son, Kevin, said he knew the student but wasn’t friends with him. "They told us someone had a gun, but didn’t say if it was atoy gun," he said.

Carlos Esguerra, who relocated his family from Daly City to Millbrae because of the good reputation the city’s schools have, said the incident was disconcerting but out of the ordinary.

"I don’t believe anything like this has happened during school time, but we have had incidences where weapons were on campus after classroom hours," said Philip, who has worked for the district for 15 years.

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