Student brings Airsoft gun to Ocean Gate school
OCEAN GATE — The superintendent of an Ocean County elementary school said he's satisfied at how police and his staff handled the situation when a student brought an Airsoft gun to school on Tuesday .
Superintendent Frank B. Vanalesti told New Jersey 101.5 the student brought the Airsoft in a backpack, which was noticed by a student who told a teacher. The teacher, in turn, notified the school's full-time resource office.
"He sprung into action quickly. Police were here within minutes because we're in close proximity to the police department," Vanalesti said. "They quickly had this whole thing under control and quickly took appropriate steps. I was working with police for the entire day looking into all the details."
Vanalesti said he sent a recorded voice message to all parents in the district after rumors about the incident spread on social media, including one that the child brought a real gun or the child had been bullied. The superintendent said that he could not discuss specifics of the case because a minor is involved but said that sometimes a student will sometimes bring inappropriate items to show friends and classmates.
"This is an elementary school and those kinds of things happen," Vanalesti said.
Airsoft guns look similar to real guns but fire only rubber or plastic pellets.
"Whether it was a toy or not we handled it as if it were a threat. Our district is faced with this every day making sure the place is secure," Vanalesti said, adding that the security of the school is a constant topic of discussion with the school board and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. "We don't take any situation that's a possibility lightly. We have to respond appropriately. That's what happened here," Vanalesti said.
The school, the only in the Ocean Gate school district, has 140 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.