LaBarr says she didn’t mention ammo due to ‘ongoing investigation’

Updated: Dec. 19, 2019 at 4:25 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Watertown’s city school superintendent says she didn’t specify that ammunition was found at the high school this week because it’s district policy not to discuss active investigations.

“As this is an ongoing investigation,” Patricia LaBarr said in a statement released Thursday morning, “we typically do not release details.”

In a recorded phone message to parents Wednesday, LaBarr said social media rumors that ammunition was found in a school locker room were false.

What she did not say was that three shells were found in a bathroom.

In her statement Thursday, LaBarr said she was responding to specific rumors that boxes of ammunition were found in a locker room and that a gun had been found.

She said rumors were growing with “intensifying false information.”

"None of this was true," she wrote. "Therefore, I called to inform our high school parents, guardians, and staff that ammunition was not found in the locker room."

Aside from finding the shells themselves, LaBarr said, "there was no incident and safety was maintained."

She said the shells were turned over to Watertown police immediately and, as a precaution, all bathrooms and student lockers were checked.

The student who brought the shells to school will be disciplined according to the district’s code of conduct, LaBarr said.

After releasing the statement, LaBarr sat down with 7 News for an on camera interview.

“I was remiss in not saying that we found, you know, 3 hunting shells, if you will. But again, I was trying to get across the big story because to me I had already moved on. It wasn’t a story,” she said. “I mean, in retrospect, I think when you are doing an investigation and you have the police working with you, before you put out any kind of message is you don’t want to do it to create further anxiety and angst among children.”

She said no one was ever really in danger and it’s common for people in this area to hunt.

“So, I mean, is there a possibility that a student had those three shells in their pocket and got a little bit nervous in the bathroom? I don’t know,” she said.

LaBarr said she’s committed to students and their safety.

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