FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson says students were safe and school officials followed proper procedures when responding to an incident Feb. 23 at Franklin Township High School involving a loaded hand gun in the possession of a 17-year-old student.

Robertson wrote a letter to school officials, which has been posted on the school district's website:

"I want you to know that Somerset County law enforcement and in particular the Franklin Police Department is well trained in how to handle school safety-related issues and that certain situations call for certain responses," Robertson said in his letter dated Feb. 28. "In the incident that occurred last week, law enforcement had specific and reliable information on who had the firearm, where it was located and the reason for why the student possessed the firearm."

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Robertson went on to explain in the letter that law enforcement personnel responded in a specific way in order to secure the suspect and the firearm and not create a situation."

The prosecutor's office had received a tip that a student at the school had a loaded 9mm hand gun in his backpack. Police notified school officials,  came to the school, went to the classroom where the student was and escorted him from the room to a secure safety office. A search warrant was issued and the weapon was found in the backpack, according to Robertson. 

Robertson indicated school officials acted as directed by the SPCO during an ongoing criminal investigation. 

"In this instance, the school administrators did exactly what they were told to do by law enforcement," Robertson said.

Community members are urged to come out to a "Community Safety Symposium" on March 21, 7 p.m. at Franklin Middle School. 

“The evening will be an opportunity for our community members, whether they are parents, business owners, religious organization members or residents to voice their concerns about safety issues in our Township,” Mayor Phil Kramer said. 

“Having this type of event, which includes the leaders of our schools, as well as members of the larger community, is important.  We will be most effective in keeping all of our children and residents safe if we work together,” sadi Police Chief Richard Grammar.