Student brought look-alike BB gun to Harvard Jr. High

13-year-old referred for disorderly conduct

The BB gun brought to Harvard Jr. High School on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, looks very much like a real handgun, according to Chief of Police Tyson Baumann.

When a staff member at Harvard Junior High School saw a 13-year-old student brandishing what looked like a handgun before classes began Wednesday, they immediately intervened, according to police and school officials.

The gun was determined to be a BB gun, “which strikingly resembles a real 1911-style handgun, lacking any distinguishing marks or orange tip indicative of its status as a BB gun, without closer inspection,” Harvard Chief of Police Tyson Bauman said in a prepared statement.

The department, along with Harvard School District 50 administration, investigated and the student has been charged with disorderly conduct and petitioned to McHenry County Court Services, Bauman said. The student was released to a guardian and was not arrested, he added.

“If that kid had pulled it out on the street, he could have been shot if he did not drop it.”

Police were called about 7:40 a.m. to the school at 1301 N. Garfield St. for the report of a student potentially carrying a weapon on school premises. The school, which begins classes at 8 a.m., was not locked down during the investigation, Bauman said.

The incident could have been much worse, District 50 Superintendent Corey Tafoya said. “I am just super proud of our junior high and the response,” adding that “the most important element of school safety is our vigilance and being aware of any situation.”

“We are dealing with kids and the decisions they make. Sometimes that decision is a bad haircut, and sometime it is something much more,” Tafoya said.

There was no indication the student brought the BB gun to school for anything other than “showing it off,” Bauman said. “He didn’t make any threats or have any history of trouble.”

He also urged parents and guardians talk with their children “regarding the gravity of bringing such items to school premises or carrying them in public areas. While this incident was promptly identified and managed safely, it serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of such actions,” Bauman said.

The gun looked very much like a handgun, Bauman said.

“If that kid had pulled it out on the street, he could have been shot if he did not drop it,” he said.

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