A Riverside-Brookfield High School student brought an Airsoft gun to the homecoming football game on Oct. 2 and was escorted out of the stadium by Brookfield police. Airsoft guns are replica firearms that look much like real guns but only shoot small, non-lethal, plastic projectiles, much like BB guns.
According to the police report, an officer was approached by two juveniles who told the officer that they saw a boy hand what looked like a BB gun to another boy in the visitor stands. The gun, a pistol, was black and had an orange tip.
The police officer approached the boy who had been seen with the gun and asked him to exit the field. The officer then asked the boy if he had an Airsoft gun on his person and the boy said yes, adding that it had been given to him by a friend to hold. The officer then asked the boy to give him the Airsoft gun, which the boy did.
The police officer then contacted RBHS Dean of Students Dave Sibley about the incident.
“The school conducted its investigation simultaneously with the police department,” said District 208 superintendent Kevin Skinkis. “There was an incident at the game and it was addressed swiftly.”
Skinkis said that discipline was handed out.
“School disciplinary consequences were issued,” said Skinkis without identifying that discipline was handed out.
RBHS principal Kristin Smetana also wasn’t saying much about the incident.
“The school administration and the Brookfield Police Department worked together to investigate and address the situation,” Smetana said in an email. “The school district takes these types of incidents very seriously as student safety is our number one priority.”
On the Monday after the football game, police met separately with the two students at the Brookfield Police Department. Both boys had parents with them at the time, according to the heavily redacted police report. Police said that no threats were made at any time, and no one was in danger.
Still, said Brookfield Lt. Edward Petrak, police took the report of the weapon very seriously.
“Even though there was no intent to harm or threaten anyone in this instance, just having the air pistol inside that venue could have created a number of different issues, issues and concerns that kids probably never even think about,” Petrak said in an email. “There’s never been a time when bringing a toy gun to a high school football game would be considered acceptable.
“A few generations ago we would have figured a teen was carrying a BB gun. Today we can’t discount the thought of a teenager carrying the real thing. Had someone not seen the orange tip, the officer on scene may have handled things a little differently that night.”
According to the police report, the officer explained the seriousness of the incident to the teen and explained what could have happened. The student stated that he was sorry for the trouble he caused.
No criminal charges were filed.
Petrak said that he hoped the incident could be used as a way to educate parents and children about the weapons, which are popular.
“We do occasionally receive calls about kids walking around with these guns,” Petrak said. “It alarms people and it can put an officer in a difficult spot. Many manufactures of these Airsoft pistols design them to replicate the look of a real gun. From a distance it’s very hard to distinguish a toy gun from the real thing.”