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Gun on campus lands teen trouble
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A lockdown of Central Valley High School was over Wednesday, Sept. 19 with one student in custody for carrying an unloaded gun onto campus.

The precautionary lockdown began at 11 a.m. and lasted an hour and 20 minutes after the discovery of the weapon was made. Students were held inside classrooms until the campus was declared safe.

"The students stayed in their rooms, barricades and locked down," said Jay Simmonds, a spokesperson with the Ceres Unified School District.

The student involved was not identified. He faces not only criminal charges in the juvenile system and expulsion, said Simmonds.

Ceres Unified is required by law to make a recommendation to the Ceres School Board that the student be expelled for one full calendar year.

"We don't think it was a prank - just more of a stupid move," said Simmonds.

He called the incident isolated and said there were no threats uttered by the suspect.

Simmonds said the gun was "pretty trashed" and called the gun inoperable. No ammunition was found.

School Resources Officer Darren Venn approached a student in a hallway and saw him drop something in a garbage can. The student had been sent to Venn after being detained by a school security officer on suspicion of vandalism and smoking.

"The only thing they knew was it wasn't a drill," Van Vleck said. "It was a real thing. This is my first time I've dealt with a real gun on campus in my eighth years in administration. My adrenaline was going."

Ceres High School was unaffected by the situation.

Last month, Central Valley High School held a lockdown drill which was designed to familiarize students, staff and faculty with how to react to a crisis.

"For the situation that we had, we could not have asked for it to go any better," Van Vleck said. "The system worked. I give all the credit to the teachers and kids. They took it very seriously and did what they've been trained to do. We got a dialer message out to every parent within 40 minutes."

Simmonds said that the district used its new ConnectEd auto dialer system auto to notify parents and guardians.

"We told them the students were safe."

The system is capable of calling or sending emails, voicemails and messages to pagers of all CUSD parents within five minutes.

Central Valley senior/Ceres School Board student representative Christina Dempsey remained in her third period AP Government/Economics classroom in the H Building after hearing Van Vleck's voice over the intercom.

"We actually did pretty well because we were prepared," she said "We did everything that was expected. We stayed quiet and away from the door and windows. I wasn't shaken but some of the other students were."

"The response by the Ceres Police Department was also key to the success of this going smoothly," Van Vleck added. "They were proactive and responsive to make sure we had a safe campus."