Vernal Middle School student brought gun to school with a plan and target, police say

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VERNAL — A student who brought a gun to school Thursday at Vernal Middle School had a plan and a specific target, Vernal police say.

The incident happened before school started, according to the Uintah School District. After it was reported that a student may have a gun, the school enacted "established safety protocols for weapons on school property to ensure the safety of all students and staff," according to a statement released by the district.

A school resource officer found the student and recovered a gun, the district said. That student was then taken into police custody and booked into a youth detention center.

"There is no active threat to (the school) and no danger to students or staff," the statement said.

"Investigation of the incident revealed that the student had a plan and a specific target," Vernal police said in a statement released late Thursday afternoon. Police did not release additional details about the plan or target, stating the case is still being investigated.

This is the second weapons-related incident involving a student at Vernal Middle School this month.

On Sept. 6, a student was removed from the school after bringing "an airsoft handgun that was modified to look like a real handgun" on campus, according to the district. The school resource officer was able to locate the student and the airsoft gun after receiving tips from other students.

"While investigating this incident, additional students came forward and told school staff that the student with the gun had warned them (on Sept. 1) not to come to school today," the district said in a statement shortly after the incident.

District officials also reminded students that guns, gun replicas and toy firearms — including airsoft guns — are not allowed at school, and bringing such items "will result in serious consequences."

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Utah K-12 educationUtahPolice & CourtsEastern Utah
Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021 after many years of reporting for the Deseret News


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