Northwest Middle School in Reading was placed on a brief lockdown before the building was evacuated Thursday before noon, after authorities say a student brought a firearm into the school.
On Thursday, May 11th, at approximately 10:30 am, Reading Police Department patrol officers were dispatched to Northwest Middle School, located at 1000 North Front Street, relative to a student being located with a firearm inside the school.
While on location, officers met with school police officers who had detained a 14-year-old male student and recovered a loaded firearm from his person. School police officers reported they were informed that the student was in possession of a firearm inside the school.
Following that report, the officers immediately located and detained the student without incident. Reading Police officers took custody of the juvenile and assisted Northwest Middle School staff with an evacuation of the school. RPD personnel remained on the scene and to conduct a sweep of the school to ensure there were no other hazards present.
The juvenile arrested is being charged with possession of a firearm by a minor and possession of a weapon on school property.
“The Reading School District applauds the professionalism of the teachers and staff at Northwest Middle School during this stressful incident. We also thank the Reading Police Department for its timely and professional response, as well as the work of our Safe Schools Team” said a district message to parents.
Police Chief Richard Tornielli says this incident and the recent incident involving a student bringing a firearm into Reading High School are extremely concerning. Fortunately, these incidents were reported and investigated quickly, which prevented a potentially more serious and tragic incident from occurring.
“Firearms and violence have no place in our community and especially in our schools, which should be safe places for children to learn” said Tornielli. “The Reading Police Department will continue to work with our partners at the Reading School District to ensure the safety of all students and staff members in our schools. We need students and parents to report any information about potential acts of violence and possession of weapons in our schools to the police or school officials.”
Mayor Eddie Moran is hopeful the community can come together to reduce violence in the city. “I’m grateful that, in this case, information was provided to authorities, and the weapon was retrieved with no injuries. As your Mayor and also a caring parent, ensuring the safety of our residents is my number one objective, but we must continue to come together as a community and make efforts to stop our young people from carrying firearms.”
Mayor Moran continued, “Safety starts at home. Let’s be vigilant with our own children and those around us because responsibility cannot rest solely on elected officials and law enforcement. We must work together, hand-in-hand, to create a secure environment for our children to grow and thrive in. I am, once again, making this call to action that requires a community effort for our kid’s safety and well-being. Please, monitor children’s online and social media activity, build a community with other parents, teachers, and neighbors, communicate concerns and behaviors, and report any suspicious behaviors to local law enforcement immediately.”
Information relative to any potential incidents that impact school safety can be reported to the Reading Police Department at 610-655-6116 or anonymously through the Safe to Say Something program at 1-844-SAF2SAY or the Safe to Say Something Application that can be downloaded from https://www.safe2saypa.org/.