Madison high school student arrested for having a loaded gun at Lapham Elementary

Jason Joyce:

“Students in the alternative program have their classes on the third floor, separate from the elementary students,” said Rachel Strauch Nelson in an email. “I would note that we have already been considering other possible locations for these programs as our district works to strengthen our alternative program options.”

Strauch Nelson added that “interaction with the elementary students is very limited.”

At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham sent an email to all district parents under the subject “Safe Schools.” The complete email reads:

Dear MMSD community,

As we read about disturbing events of violence across the country, we recognize that there can be cause for concern about day to day safety. I want to reassure you that safety is a top priority in our district.

At each of our schools, we have strong safety protocols in place, we continuously train our staff and review these procedures, and we work very closely with the Madison police to keep our school communities safe. We also continuously strive to have good communication between staff, parents and students and community members.

I say this, in part, because you may have heard about an incident in which a high school age student brought a firearm to a school today. Unlike other incidents we have seen around the country, the student made no threats and indicated that he did not intend any harm to anyone at school. Our district staff and police responded immediately, recovered the firearm and took the student into custody.

While this situation is very different than incidents we’ve heard about throughout the country, it is a good example of why we have strong safety protocols in place. Our staff followed those protocols very well to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

Whenever there are safety incidents in our schools, we work hard to communicate with you quickly and ensure that you have up to date information.

That is important because we also recognize that parents have the most important role in providing comfort and reassurance to their children when they express concern about events around the country. As parents, our role is to remain calm, explore with them what they know, and what they are worried about, and to provide reassurance and routine. This is also the role of our educators in schools. If your child is having difficulty or needs support, please seek support from your school’s student services staff or principal.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or your school principal.


Jennifer Cheatham


Related: Gangs and School Violence Forum, and

Police calls to Madison Hogh Schools Schools: 1996-2006