News, Police/Fire

Students safe after lockdown at KIPP Academy

Main entrance to KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School on High Rock Street during a lockdown due to a report that a student had a gun on campus. Parents (right) were kept away from the school while police conducted a search of the building (Jim Wilson)

KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School told parents all students and faculty are safe after a report came in of a student with a gun on campus.

At 9:54 a.m on Friday, a KIPP student reported to faculty that another student had a gun on campus, according to an email to parents obtained by the Item.

Lynn Police Lieutenant Michael Kmiec said there was no sighting of a gun at the school today. The student who was the main focus of the investigation eventually admitted to bringing a BB gun to the school over a week ago, he said.

Police recovered the BB gun during a search of the student’s home on Friday, Kmiec said. No arrests have been made and no charges are being sought at this time.

KIPP followed procedure and went into lockdown, according to the school’s email to parents. Police reportedly responded to the school within two minutes and secured the building. Students were interviewed and the campus was searched with the assistance of a K-9 unit from the Salem Police Department.

Coral Cabrera was among approximately 50 parents waiting in the rain on High Rock Street mid Friday morning. She rushed to the Highlands from her job after her daughter, Wilmaura Noble, sent her text at 10:08 a.m. that read: “Ma, we’re on lockdown.”

She said a previous incident in May regarding a student and school security left her frustrated. Cabrera said school administrators and parents need to talk about the Highland school’s security.

“As a parent, I need to feel my kids are safe,” she said.

Maryi Mendez, parent of a KIPP senior, said she was alarmed by the sight of eight police SUVs parked Friday morning in the drive leading up to the school’s entrance and at least one heavily-armed police officer. She said she was frustrated to not receive information about the morning incident until the school sent the email to parents at 10:40 a.m.

“I don’t feel safe,” Mendez said.

By 10:40 a.m., the school was no longer in lockdown and all students were safe, according to  the email.

“KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate deeply appreciates the Lynn Police Department and the administrative team for their calm and focused leadership during a tense situation,” said KIPP Massachusetts Executive Director Caleb Dolan. “We also appreciate the KIPP families and students who worked with the staff to facilitate student dismissal.”

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