San Francisco middle school locked down, district says student brought gun on campus

It was a frightening day for students, their families and educators at Denman Middle School in San Francisco's Outer Mission District on Wednesday after a gun was found on campus. 

The school was on lockdown for about 40 minutes as staff worked to get to the bottom of what was going on. Fortunately no one was injured and the gun never went off. 

Parents, educators and families all took to the streets Wednesday afternoon after they were notified that Denman Middle School was on lockdown. Police say there were no serious injuries, but confirm they did find a gun on campus, and that initial reports of an active shooter turned out to be untrue.

Students on campus say those initial reports came as students were eating lunch. "People were just saying, like, 'Run it's a gun,' and we all started running," said one seventh grader. "I was scared, yeah."

Although those initial reports of an active shooter turned out to be untrue, the school went into a lengthy lockdown. 

Ultimately, it was determined that two students had been involved in a fight, and that in the course of resolving that fight, a school staff member discovered the gun. "During that altercation it was discovered that one of the students had a weapon on campus," said Laura Dudnick from San Francisco Unified School District. "That weapon was never discharged. No one was injured. It was confiscated. Staff contacted police who responded to the school and are investigating. Everyone is safe, no one is hurt."

The district says the school's emergency plan worked as it should have. The school went into a lockdown to keep students and staff safe, and parents were called, emailed or texted to notify them.

Sabra Bell happened to be on campus to help her son with his schoolwork, and says she was locked down with students while staff worked to figure out what was going on. "They were like, 'Turn off the lights, lock the door,' because they know the procedure already, and it was just very scary, you know," said Bell. "We were just waiting until we heard something. Being calm and just waiting until we heard something until it was clear."

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San Francisco police responded to the school, and eventually detained the students who were involved. At this point — the district cannot say much about them because of their age, middle schoolers between the ages of 11 and 13. "I can't speak to specific students experiences or the outcomes of this case," said Dudnick. "But, we do have very serious consequences. There are very serious consequences for an incident if a student was to bring a weapon on campus."

It's important to note that no one was injured, and that the gun did not go off. KTVU has asked San Francisco police if it was loaded, and police say they can't release that information at this point.