Lincoln Police and Prescott Elementary administration quickly and safely handle security incident at school

Lincoln Police were called to Prescott Elementary School to assist with a security incident reported to administration. Here is a timeline of events as reported through the initial investigation:

  • A fifth grade student showed a Prescott student a handgun in their backpack and made concerning comments about violence toward that student.
  • A student then told their teacher who immediately called administrators.
  • The administrators removed the backpack from the coat hooks and brought it to the office. Police were called immediately to come to the school.
  • Because the backpack was secured immediately and the situation was made safe quickly, there was not a need to use any of our Standard Response Protocols. 
  • A police officer did find a loaded handgun in the student’s backpack.
  • The students’ families were contacted and police began their investigation by talking with the students involved.
  • The student who brought the firearm to school will be facing legal consequences. 
  • We will continue to work with Lincoln Police and Lincoln Public Schools Security to ensure a safe learning environment for everyone at Prescott.

Prescott Principal JJ Wilkins wrote to families in an email: 

“We know this is concerning news to hear. We are very proud of the student who reported the safety concern to their teacher when they felt unsafe. It is the important work of our staff at Prescott in building trusting relationships with our students that lead to this serious situation being resolved without anyone being hurt. We are thankful for the quick response by Lincoln Police and their continued collaboration in keeping our students and staff safe.”

Lincoln Public Schools reminds families that school safety takes a community and we need your help: 

  • Please remind your student to tell a trusted adult immediately if they see or hear something that makes them feel unsafe. They can tell a trusted adult at home or school, or they can report it using the green “Safe to Say” button on the LPS website.
  • Have a conversation with your child about the dangers of handling weapons without adult permission or supervision. Lincoln Public Schools is taking this opportunity to remind families the importance of keeping all weapons and ammunition safely away from children and adolescents to prevent intentional and unintentional harm. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that the most reliable and effective measure to prevent injuries in children and adolescents is an absence of weapons. Safe weapon storage reduces a child’s risk of injury.
  • Please help us reinforce our lessons we teach at school about positive peer interactions. We understand that not everyone is going to always get along, but there are healthy ways to resolve conflicts that do not include a physical reaction. We need to be respectful to ourselves, our peers, our teachers and our school. We follow directions, honor each other's space and engage in positive interactions. Most importantly, we need to remember to be kind to one another. Encourage your student to share with adults at school if they are having issues with friends or other students. We believe it is important that we repair relationships where they are harmed and we want to help our students do that.

LPS Superintendent Paul Gausman said about the incident, “This is a phone call that a superintendent never wants to receive, but I was very proud of our Prescott administrators and staff in how they remained calm and kept students safe during this incident. These professionals continue to build positive relationships with students which led to the reporting of an unsafe situation. It was brave of that student to come forward and tell their teacher what they saw. We are appreciative of Lincoln Police and their quick reaction to the situation. Lincoln Police have been a great collaborative partner in keeping our schools safe.”

Gausman went on to say, “Our schools are safe because of our community’s ongoing efforts to remain vigilant and share information when there is a concern. We encourage anyone who sees or hears something of concern to report it immediately so we can continue to ensure a safe learning environment for all.”

Published: February 24, 2023, Updated: February 24, 2023