Police: Teacher's aide brought gun to school

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Gillian Jeffords (Clarkstown Police Department)

A school employee in Rockland County, New York, has been suspended after allegedly bringing a gun to school.

The Clarkstown Police Department charged Gillian Jeffords, 24, with criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds. She is a teacher's aide at Jesse Kaplan School in West Nyack.

Authorities received a 911 call around 9 a.m. after a co-worker saw a gun inside Jeffords's purse in a classroom closet.

"At some point, a staff member went in there and either the handbag fell on the ground or was on the bottom of the closet," Officer Pete Walker said. "It was determined that it looked like a handgun."

Officials immediately put the campus on lockdown. Only a handful Kaplan's students, who are mostly children with disabilities, had arrived to begin school. Ensuring their safety was the priority, according to Dr. Mary Jean Marsico, a deputy superintendent.

Investigators recovered a loaded Ruger 9mm handgun. Police said it was never taken out of the aide's purse. And no students were in the classroom at the time it was first discovered.

Jeffords has a concealed weapons permit valid in Pennsylvania and New York but bringing a firearm onto school grounds is a felony in New York. She has been an employee since September.

A judge released Jeffords on her own recognizance. She is set to appear in court in May.