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Teacher’s aide arrested for bringing loaded gun to NY school: police

WEST NYACK, N.Y. — A teacher's aide was arrested Wednesday for bringing a loaded firearm to a West Nyack-area school, officials said.

Police were called about 9 a.m. about a teacher's aide possessing a firearm at Jesse J. Kaplan School, located at 65 Parrott Road, the Clarkstown Police Department said. The school educates children and adults ages 5 to 21 who have disabilities, and offers education, nursing services and therapy, its website states.

Gillian Jeffords, 24, was taken into custody after a colleague spotted a handgun in Jeffords' purse, which was stored inside a classroom closet, and notified the principal who in turn called police.

Gillian Jeffords, 24, was arrested on March 28, 2018, after she allegedly brought a loaded gun to Jesse Kaplan School, where she works as a teacher’s aide. Jeffords has a permit to carry the weapon in New York and Pennsylvania. (Clarkstown Police Department)

No students were in the classroom at the time.

The school resource officer, who also works for the Police Department, responded and secured the weapon, police said.

The campus was temporarily locked down and buses taking students to school were re-routed, school officials said.

After being questioned, police said Jeffords was arrested. She has a license to carry in both New York and Pennsylvania, but bringing a loaded weapon to a classroom is a felony, officials added.

Investigators don't believe the gun -- a .9-mm Ruger -- was ever taken out of the aide's bag or used in a threatening manner, according to police.

Jeffords has been suspended with pay, school officials said. She was released on an appearance ticket and is set to appear in court in May.

This gun was found in a the purse of a teacher's aide at Jesse Kaplan School in West Nyack on March 28, 2018, police say. Gillian Jeffords, 24, was arrested. She has a permit to carry the weapon but it is a felony to bring it on school grounds. (Clarkstown Police Department)

The ordeal comes more than a month after President Donald Trump promoted the idea of arming teachers in the wake of a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida that resulted in the deaths of 17 people.

It is not yet known why the teacher's aide was armed.