School district to review policies after Middletown High student found with gun

MIDDLETOWN — Appoquinimink School District will evaluate safety procedures after an 18-year-old Middletown High student was allegedly found with a 9mm handgun in school last Friday and subsequently arrested.

Superintendent Dr. Matt Burrows sent an email Saturday to Appoquinimink parents and staff announcing a directive to form a district-wide parent/staff/Board Safety Task Force “to review current procedures and create a report of their findings and recommendations. Results from this report will be shared publicly in the fall and we will work to implement their findings.”

The superintendent expressed frustration when describing the district’s release of information Friday via two emails after the alleged incident about four hours earlier and attached a Delaware State Police report released Saturday afternoon detailing the arrest and charges.

“In the course of the police investigation, which continued into the evening, new and disturbing details came to light,” Dr. Burrows said Saturday in an email. “We learned about them this morning when DSP released their official report (which is attached).”

The district is seeking parents to serve on the task force, and application forms will be distributed this week, Dr. Burrows said.

Via email, Dr. Burrows announced some details of the incident at around 4 p.m. Friday, which had been approved by the State Police. It was noted that a student had been taken into custody after a gun was found in a bag by staff just before noon and a criminal investigation was ongoing.

According to Dr. Burrows, “I felt then (Friday), and do now, that timely communication is vital. However, had these additional facts been known to me at the time, my letter to parents would have reflected that information.

“As it is, I can only apologize for the necessity of contacting you a second time; and express my understanding about any resulting disappointment and concern on your part.”

To conclude, Dr. Burrows said, “let me express my apologies and reassure you that we work always to provide timely, open and honest communication to parents. Yesterday (Friday), we acted on the information available to us at the time, believing it to be complete. Now that we are aware of additional allegations, we cannot hesitate to share them.”

The charges detailed

Tymere Moore was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon, possession of a weapon in a school safe zone, theft of firearm, aggravated menacing, offensive touching and third-degree assault.

He was arraigned in Justice of Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach and initially held at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna on $29,250 secured bail.

DSP spokesman Master Cpl. Michael Austin said Monday “The weapon was taken from a family members vehicle without their authorization or knowledge some time that morning, prior to school.”

According to Dr. Burrows, Mr. Moore was suspended immediately and “Following our Code of Conduct and pending conclusion of a formal investigation, he will not be allowed further contact with students or staff, and will not be allowed back on school property.

“Due to the seriousness of the infraction, this student will not be returning to our schools.”

State Police alleged that Mr. Moore pointed a 9mm handgun at a male student in a bathroom before they exited without further incident. That was supposedly preceded by Mr. Moore’s verbal altercation with an 18-year-old female student in the hallway when he allegedly threw a bottle at her head, causing a minor injury at approximately 10:50 a.m…, according to police.

Dr. Burrows told staff and parents in an email Friday that an altercation between two student was reported “shortly before noon” when “a quick-thinking teacher called down to the office … Staff were able to separate the teens before any blows were thrown, and no one was injured. But, a check of one of the student’s bag revealed a handgun.”

Dr. Burrows referenced four staff members by name as “the real heroes today for their “vigilance, quick thinking and solid instincts” that “contained the situation before it even began.”

According to Cpl. Austin in a Saturday news release, “Soon after the incident school administrators received information that Moore was possibly in possession of a handgun. Moore was immediately located within the school and an attempt was made to escort him to a secure area.
“He refused to comply with the request and a physical altercation ensued, which resulted in Moore striking one of the administrators.

“Moore was eventually brought under control by assisting staff members and moved to a secure office. Once in the office an administrative search of Moore’s book bag produced a 9mm handgun.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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