ROCKPORT — Meagan M. Collier, 23, of Sidney, was charged by Rockport police Friday morning, Oct. 28, with Possession of a Firearm of Public School Property,” after a loaded Glock.380 fell out of her lunch bag in a staff lounge at Rockport-Elementary School, on Route 90, in Rockport.
The lunch bag had been placed in the refrigerator and it fell onto the floor when another staff member was removing an item from the fridge.
The pistol had a loaded magazine inserted, but the chamber was empty, which may have prevented an accidental discharge, police said in a news release. Police said Collier had forgotten the handgun in her lunch bag.
There were no injuries, and the staff member immediately alerted the main office. The weapon and staff lounge area were secured by staff until police arrived.
Police subsequently determined that the weapon belonged to Collier.
“There was no indication that there were an ill intention on the part of Collier,” said Police Chief Randy Gagne, in the release. “This was more of a case where someone did not follow safe gun handling rules, and know where their weapon was at all times.”
Police said Collier cooperated with the investigation and is scheduled to appear in Knox County Court Dec. 12.
Parents were notified about the incident via an auto-call voice message, advising them that an email would be coming from the central office.
The email, sent from SAD 28 Superintendent Maria Libby at 2:42 p.m., said:
Dear CRES families,
“I want to make you aware that a staff member found a loaded handgun, with no live round in the chamber, in a lunchbox in the CRES staff kitchen that was mistakenly brought into the school by a fellow staff member today. The proper authorities were notified immediately and responded promptly.
“At no point was there any threat to anyone in the building, staff or students. Students were unaware that the incident occurred, and there was no disruption to the school day. Nothing is more important to the school than protecting the students in our care.”
Later in the day, Libby wrote again to the parents:
“I know that parents are understandably concerned about what took place today at CRES. I hope the information below provides some additional information, though I know people naturally want to have more details. Unfortunately this is a personnel issue which limits what we can share. Chris and I have been in close contact throughout the day and are working hard to address your concerns.
“As you may have read in the paper, Meagan Collier, an ed tech at CRES, was charged with possession of a firearm on public school property today. She inadvertently brought her personal firearm to school after a morning walk.
“A staff member found the gun in a lunchbox that had fallen on the ground from a refrigerator in the staff kitchen. Police were immediately notified and the gun secured until their prompt arrival. Student safety is our top priority and regardless of intent, possession of a firearm on school property is unacceptable.
“Fortunately, at no time was anyone in danger. Students were unaware of the situation and kept safe at all times. Parents can determine whether or not they feel it is appropriate to share any of this information with their child. The school will not initiate the conversation with students.
“Due to confidentiality laws we can't disclose disciplinary action that may or may not be taken. I know it is frustrating to not have access to all the information. We strive for transparency whenever possible, so it's frustrating that we can't share more. But we also can't break the law to make disciplinary actions public.
“We take student and staff safety very seriously. Please trust that we will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure we have a safe learning and work environment. We will conduct a thorough investigation over the next several days and we will apply appropriate disciplinary actions.”
The matter has been referred to the Knox County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of additional charges. Police Officer Dana Smith investigated the incident.
Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at firstname.lastname@example.org; 207-706-6657