A 24-year-old teacher's aide who brought a gun to school in her purse has been arrested and charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds.
The discovery of the gun took place around 9 a.m. Wednesday when the Clarkstown Police Department responded to the Jesse Kaplan School of the BOCES Campus in West Nyack, said Clarkstown Officer Peter Walker.
According to Walker, officials at the school for students with Autism, cognitive disabilities, medical fragility and/or multiple disabilities, called police after a fellow staff member noticed a handbag containing, what was later identified as, a black Ruger 9mm handgun, which was located in a staff closet.
At the time the weapon was found, the classroom was only occupied by fellow staff members. The school initiated a lockdown. It was determined by the school principal and the school resource officer that the gun was the property of Gillian J. Jeffords, a teacher's aide at the school.
As soon as the gun was secured by the SRO, the lockdown was lifted and the school resumed the normal schedule and dismissal will be held at the regular time with additional police resources on hand, Walker said.
At no point was this weapon displayed or used in a threatening manner by the teacher’s aide, Walker said.
Jeffords, of Warwick, was transported to police headquarters for further investigation. It was determined that she did have a valid firearms license in both New York and Pennsylvania. Both of those licenses have been confiscated and a review of the licenses will be conducted by a judge, he added.
She was released on an appearance ticket and will return to Clarkstown Criminal Court on May 7.
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