Parents question police, school response to student bringing gun to West Geauga High School

A student found a bullet in the bathroom around 8:00 a.m. Monday, but the school was not placed in lockdown until around 9:30
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 10:19 PM EDT
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GEAUGA COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - There is mounting frustration about how officials handled Monday’s situation at West Geauga High School when a student was arrested for allegedly bringing a gun and ammo to school.

‘Why did it take them that long when things could have went haywire?” asked one parent, who asked not to be identified to protect his kids’ privacy.

He’s a father of three students in the district, including one in high school.

Around 8:00 a.m., another student spotted a bullet in a boy’s bathroom. He immediately reported talking to a school resource officer, which sparked an investigation.

Officials reviewed security footage and identified the students who used the restroom prior to the discovery. As the students were interviewed, classes resumed as scheduled.

It wasn’t until around 9:30 a.m. that the school went into a brief lockdown after they identified a suspect.

“They decided to take the time ... it was too much time to make the move to lock the school down,” the parent told 19 News. “They haven’t handled it very well, not in a very professional manner.”

Chester Township Police Chief Craig Young said 18-year-old Brandon Morrissette admitted to developing a plan to cause harm to students at the high school and he was planning on using that gun.

According to Chief Young, when Morrissette was arrested at the school Monday, he had three loaded magazines and the handgun in his backpack. He also had a knife secured to his pants, said Chief Young.

At a Wednesday news conference, Young defended the way the situation was handled.

“There was access to the school over the weekend so there was really an unknown of where that bullet could have come from,” he said. “It would have been premature to act at that time. We didn’t want to cause undue panic or concern until we knew there was a threat.”

The school was closed on Tuesday due to an unfounded threat, according to Young.

Classes resumed on Wednesday.

Morrissette is now being treated at a secure mental health facility before being transferred to the Geauga County Jail.

He is charged with attempted aggravated murder, inducing panic, and illegal possession of a deadly weapon in a school safety zone.