WISHEK, N.D. – The president of the Wishek School Board said during a special meeting held Thursday night, Oct. 12, that the district mishandled how it informed parents about an incident this week in which an elementary student apparently brought a non-functioning starter pistol to school.

“People should have been notified, because nobody knew what was going on,” board president Curt Meidinger told a packed room of people at the meeting.

Meidinger said officials were precluded by law from saying much about the incident, or the discipline the student faced as a result.

“What we’ve probably learned is that we have to change some policy rules as we move forward,” he added.

Meidinger said he understood that the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas has left everyone with a heightened sense of worry when it comes to the subject of weapons.

Wishek Police Chief Andrew Tunheim said earlier this week that the incident, which happened at the elementary school on Monday, Oct. 9, apparently involved a non-functioning starter pistol that at one time would have been able to fire blank cartridges.

Tunheim said his department allowed the school to handle the matter after he determined what kind of gun was involved.

Wishek School Superintendent Shawn Kuntz said during Thursday’s meeting that he was not at liberty to say much about the incident in question, but he said it was handled similar to how other situations had been handled. He also said it was his decision not to widely release information after the incident happened.

During Thursday’s meeting, Meidinger criticized the actions of some in the community who berated school staff following the incident.

Stating that such behavior would not be tolerated in the future, Meidinger suggested that the use of restraining orders would be considered.

Wishek, a town with a population of about 1,000, sits roughly 85 miles southwest of Jamestown in south central North Dakota.

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