Student in custody after bringing pellet gun to alternative high school in Monmouth

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MONMOUTH, Illinois -- A 17-year-old student of RAES West - an alternative high school serving students in Warren, Henderson and Mercer counties - was taken into custody and faces charges after attempting to bring a concealed airgun into the building the morning of Thursday, Feb. 15.

Monmouth Police Chief Joe Switzer said officers were dispatched to the school in the 100 block of North E Street around 8:25 a.m. after staff conducting security at the school discovered the gun, which can be used to shoot pellets or BBs, using a hand-held metal detector.

In the light of recent police shootings, he said the key is being prepared.

The student was taken into custody and is facing charges, he added. No one was injured in the incident and classes resumed as normal.

Ed Fletcher, superintendent of the Monmouth-Roseville School District, said students at RAES are referred to the school from their home districts, typically when they need assistance in gaining enough credits to graduate or due to disciplinary issues. Fletcher said officials aren't releasing the home district of the student in custody at this time, or the reason for his referral to RAES.

Fletcher said that metal detecting security is in place every day at RAES.

There are approximately 40 students at RAES West on any given day, Fletcher said.

Chief Switzer said he did not know what motivated the student to bring the airgun to school the day after a mass school shooting in Florida killed 17. In a release, he noted that no specific threat was made by the student to the school or any individuals. He credited school officials for how they handled the situation.