Gun Scare Causes School to Dismiss Early, Ends Traumatic Week

A gun scare put a South Philadelphia school in a lockdown-type of situation this morning and caused the school, which has dealt with a series of recent threats, to dismiss students early even though no weapon was found.

The dramatic moments played out inside Saints John Neumann-Maria Goretti High School at S 10th and Moore Streets.

According to a statement from Philadelphia Archdiocese spokesman Kenneth Gavin, Philadelphia Police called school administrators around 8:30 a.m. to alert them to a report that someone brought a gun into the school.

The Catholic school responded by instructing all students and faculty members to remain in their classrooms while police officers swept the building.

Gavin said that the school was not put on lockdown despite teachers and students being told to stay in their classrooms during the search.

According to police, the preliminary search turned up no weapon.

The archdiocese decided to dismiss school at noon Friday as a “precaution,” according to Gavin. Clearing all students and staff would allow a “thorough investigation of the building” to take place.

No arrests were made in Friday's incident and no one was hurt.

Gavin said that new safety procedures would be put in place at the school starting next week and that families have been notified of the new procedures. He also said that private security, put in place after recent threats, would continue to monitor the campus.

He stressed that this incident had nothing to do with recent threats made at the co-educational school. Police arrested a minor earlier this week who allegedly made threats against the school in recent days. That student was expelled and wouldn't be allowed to attend any city Catholic schools.

Gavin stressed that students shouldn't fear going to school.

“We have every reason to believe that the school is safe at this time," Gavin said. "This past week has been difficult for students, parents and staff.  School administration continues to be firmly committed to the safety and security of all members of the Neumann-Goretti community. All threats are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies.”

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