Greenfield schools chief responds to BB gun controversy and public safety

Recorder Staff
Monday, February 26, 2018

GREENFIELD — An unloaded BB gun found in a Greenfield Middle School student’s backpack before vacation week alarmed some parents — especially seen through the lens of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Those events have led to an “extensive review of all of our safety and security protocols,” Superintendent Jordana Harper said. On Monday afternoon, Greenfield’s principals and supervisors met with Harper, Police Chief Robert Haigh and Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan to go over those procedures. This was one of several meetings that have been held.

Harper announced after Monday’s meeting that there will now be additional safety walk-throughs at all schools and an evaluation and implementation of professional recommendations for added measures to keep students and staff safe.

The BB gun was found in a middle school student’s backpack when staff searched through it for another, undisclosed reason. Both Harper and Haigh said the BB gun was unloaded and was not deemed a threat to anybody.

The incident has led to Harper announcing the school district will review its safety and security protocols.

Many parents had found out about the incident from a televised report while students were on February break. At least one email from parents to the superintendent requested more dialogue regarding the incident. And in another email, a parent asked Harper and middle school Principal Gary Tashjian for comment sooner and more information.

“It’s really understandable for parents to want additional communication at this time,” Harper said. “Had there been any threat to students’ safety, as determined by police, we absolutely would have notified parents immediately.”

Harper sent out a letter Friday, as students prepared to return from break.

“I wish to reassure our students, families and staff that student safety is our No. 1 priority,” Harper said in the letter. “I want to assure you of the district and School Committee’s ongoing commitment to your child’s safety and to working cooperatively with law enforcement for the safety of Greenfield Public schools students, and their families.”

Harper encouraged families to “subscribe” to the new feature on the school’s website to stay up to date with the latest proceedings at the school. This feature is available through email and Harper said she hopes it will be available by text soon, too.

“I’m really proud of the proactive stance that Greenfield is taking.” Harper said. “We’re thinking comprehensively about student’s safety.”

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:


413-772-0261, ext. 264