An empty bullet shell casing discovered by a school janitor prompted a brief lockdown of Hull’s Memorial Middle School on Friday, Jan. 24, as police investigated. Members of the department emphasized that at no time were the school’s students in any danger.
The school employee reportedly had found an empty .22-caliber shell casing in the school gymnasium at 9 a.m. and immediately alerted school staff.
School resource officer Leanne Marshalsea and Hull police responded at the scene. In accordance with standard school policy, MMS Principal Anthony Hrivnak placed the school on lockdown.
“My first priority is always the safety of our students and school staff,” Hrivnak said. “I am grateful no one was hurt during this incident, and [I] thank everyone for their collaboration in responding.”
By 9:20 a.m., the school had switched to a shelter-in-place status, meaning students were asked to remain in their classrooms but regular lessons would continue.
“After consulting with school and police officials, a specialized K-9 unit from the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office swept the school, and no additional casings were found,” Hull police and school officials said in a joint statement.
At 10 a.m., Hrivnak contacted parents via email and voicemail, notifying them of the lockdown. The shelter-in-place order was lifted at 11:25 a.m.
Marshalsea remained on scene for the remainder of the day. School guidance and nursing staff were
also on hand for any pupil in need of assistance.
“At no time did police officers or the K-9 unit come into contact with students,” the police said.
According to Hull Police Chief John Dunn, it is not possible to trace the empty bullet casing. Also, it is “unknown how the casing got on campus,” he said. “It was found in the gymnasium by a janitor who was cleaning the area,” Dunn said. It is “unknown how long it has been there. There is no penalty for an empty shell casing.”
Dunn noted that Massachusetts General Law does require a license-to-carry permit to possess actual ammunition. “However once the ammunition is empty, there is no penalty,” he said, adding, “The schools may have specific rules regarding ammunition on campus.”
Hull School Superintendent Michael Devine did not return a call asking for comment. In a news release, however, Devine praised the school employee for “immediately reporting what he found to school officials, and [we] thank the Hull police and Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office for their quick response.
“Everyone acted swiftly and professionally to ensure the safety of our school community.”
Town Manager Philip Lemnios said Hull police and school staff followed protocol responding to the incident. “Based on experience and training, all staff worked collaboratively to insure the safety of the children at the school,” he said. “It is unfortunate that the times demand this kind of vigilance and response, but the paramount issue is the protection for all involved. “Hull is fortunate to have such dedicated staff,” Lemnios said.
The incident remains under investigation by local police and the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the school’s principal, Anthony Hrivnak, immediate