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Dubuque Schools Increase Communication About Weapons in Schools

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For the third time in less than a week, a student brought a weapon to a Dubuque school.

Officials say the incidents are unrelated. It’s the 6th time this school year that has happened.

On Friday, May 9 a student discovered an airsoft pistol in another student’s back pack at Marshall Elementary School. On Monday May 12, at Prescott Elementary school a child brought a pocket knife into the school building. On Wednesday May 14, a parent spotted a BB gun inside a student’s car near Senior High School.

Dubuque Schools Administrators say there isn’t an increased number of a student bringing weapons to school, but rather an increase in communication about those incidents.

As Director of Communications, It’s Mike Cyze’s job to let people know what’s happening at all of Dubuque’s 19 schools.

Cyze said. “We always want to be upfront and transparent about that and get the actual facts out there as soon as we can.”

The school board created Cyze’s position two years ago to help schools better get information to parents. Since then he started sending e-mails to parents and the media whenever weapons show up at a school.

Cyze said, “We just default to sharing that information with folks. Usually when it happens other students know about it. Word travels and we want to make sure folks know what the actual threat was. “

Cyze says because a BB gun and actual firearm look so much alike, administrators get police involved if someone spots a gun.

“We treat them as real weapons until we know otherwise. If they are non-lethal it’s hard to tell that in an instant, “said Cyze.

If a student brings a weapon to school, he or she is automatically suspended while police and the principal investigate. Punishment after the investigation period varies from case to case.

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