Student arrested after gun found in Tangipahoa school

Authorities have reported finding a gun in a Ponchatoula public school for the second time in less than a month.

Deputies arrested a 15-year-old student at Ponchatoula High School on Tuesday after a gun was located on campus, according to a Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office report.

The campus temporarily was locked down while deputies and school personnel searched for the firearm. The search was initiated after the administration received a report of a gun on campus, said Dawn Panepinto, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.

The youth, whose name was not made public because he is a juvenile, was booked into the Florida Parishes Detention Center on Wednesday afternoon, the spokeswoman said.

No one was injured and school operations returned to normal Tuesday afternoon after all safety measures were taken, she said. Panepinto said any additional details would be released by the school administration.

The gun was unloaded and was not being carried by the student when it was located, Assistant Principal Mary Beth Crovetto said.

“We treated it as a threat,” but there was no indication that the youth intended to harm anyone, Crovetto said.

The administration learned of the weapon’s presence on campus from other students, she said.

Crovetto said there was no evidence the incident was linked to a gun being found last month at Ponchatoula Junior High School.

On Oct. 19, the Ponchatoula Police Department arrested a 14-year-old boy accused of carrying a loaded pistol into the school.

Ponchatoula Police Chief Bry Layrisson said his officers found no evidence to indicate the youth planned to shoot anyone.

The boy told investigators he brought the gun to school for self-defense, but he was planning to attend an after-school event in another parish with the gun in his possession, Layrisson said.

In that case, the youth was found in possession of both a loaded .38-caliber pistol and a knife, Layrisson said.