Ithaca, N.Y. — The finding of BB gun packaging and subsequent lockdown at Ithaca High School Friday brought students and teachers together on the school’s first day, an administrator said in an interview.

It’s certainly an unconventional icebreaker. But IHS Chief Secondary Officer Jason Trumble said that the approximately three hours through which teachers and their new students were stuck in the same room created some unexpected benefits.

“They really got to know the students,” Trumble said of the school’s teachers.

Trumble praised the cooperation from students and staff and said he enjoyed watching the closeness of the interactions at the school after the lockdown.

“It was really uplifting,” he said.

Some students have expressed less enthusiasm about the lockdown and aftermath than Trumble.

Police and school officials are yet to find a BB gun but say the search is ongoing.

Hall monitor’s discovery

The BB gun packaging was discovered this morning by a hall monitor making his rounds around the school, Trumble said.

“He immediately brought it to the attention of the associate principal,” Trumble said.

The school went into lockdown. Police and IHS Principal Jarrett Powers searched the backpacks of students in classrooms.

Teachers halted their classes. Students spent their mornings idling in their chairs.

Normal cafeteria hours were suspended as lunches of pizza and milk were brought around to the students.

Several Ithaca police officers and patrol cars could be seen in and around the school.

Trumble said around three officers, on rotation, were in and out of the school.

A statement from the school said “all public access areas, every locker and then all student bags” were searched.

Response excessive?

Some students and social media users said Friday that they thought the extent and duration of the lockdown was excessive given the capabilities of a BB gun.

Trumble disagreed.

“We have to make sure students are safe at all times,” he said.

“Those types of BB guns don’t belong on any campus.”

Another student in an interview with The Voice objected to having her bag searched.

“Even though I don’t have anything to hide I still don’t like the fact that they went through my stuff,” said Jordan Sawatzky, an IHS student.

Trumble also defended that decision. He would not say if the searches turned up other contraband — and, if so, students would be punished for it.

“I’m not at liberty to speculate at that,” Trumble said.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.